Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Trump claims Germany ’totally controlled’ by Russian Federation at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation breakfast

Trump claims Germany ’totally controlled’ by Russian Federation at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation breakfast

Then, as president, came his repeated criticism of the German export surplus with a focus on its popular auto brands like Mercedes, BMW and Volkswagen, and the accusation Berlin is shirking its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation obligations by spending too little on defense. The operator of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline construction hopes that the project will not be subject to political sentiment.

In a bid to avoid a row, Stoltenberg replied: "Nato is an alliance of 29 nations and there are sometimes differences... US spends too much".

NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg later told reporters that Trump had used "very direct language" but that all NATO allies were agreed that the cost of defence spending must be spread around and that past year had seen the biggest increase in a generation.

"Take a look at the chart", Trump instructed the reporter, explaining the owed a mass of money for decades of delinquent allied payments. Despite German Chancellor Angela Merkel's tough talk over Russia's annexation of Crimea and sponsorship of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, she has defended the $11 billion pipeline deal to supply her country's energy shortfall.

"The most likely outcome is the restarting of the strategic stability talks between the USA and Russian Federation", said Frank Rose, a former US assistant secretary of state for arms control now at the Brookings Institution think tank.

"I myself experienced that a part of Germany that was controlled by the Soviet Union, and I am very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany", Merkel told reporters, according to the Washington Post. "So, we are supposed to protect you against Russian Federation", he explained.

Leaders will be keen to hear more about Trump's military approach to Afghanistan, which he revamped last August to include a surge in air strikes to force Taliban militants to the negotiating table.

Trump began his first and only full day in Belgium at a breakfast with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. They've made tremendous - you've had tremendous success and I congratulate you.

Former secretary of state John Kerry blasted President Trump's criticism of Germany in a lengthy statement on Wednesday morning as "strange", "counterproductive", and "disgraceful".

"But I have to bring it up because I think it's very unfair to our country, it's very unfair to our taxpayer", he said.

In 2018, the US defense budget is $706 billion.

Kremlin critics at home and overseas see Trump's decision to grant Putin a summit against that backdrop as conferring global legitimacy and status on Putin, something they say he doesn't deserve given the lack of meaningful change in Russia's policies internationally. "And I think that leaders are also looking forward to your thoughts about the meeting with President Putin later on".

During a working breakfast that marked the start of the summit, Trump claimed Germany is "controlled" by Russian Federation due to an energy partnership between the two countries. US Turkish relations have recently been strained because of issues ranging from Syria to Iran, but some diplomats say the two leaders - both criticised for their polarising politics - have established a bond.

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