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

Trump insists he has 'very good' relations with Merkel

Trump insists he has 'very good' relations with Merkel

Stoltenberg acknowledged that Trump had expressed himself in "very direct language" but insisted that away from the fiery rhetoric the allies all agree on fundamental issues: the need to boost NATO's resilience, fight terror and share the cost of defence more equally. "We're supposed to protect you against Russian Federation but they're paying billions of dollars to Russian Federation and I think that's very inappropriate".

"I've experienced myself a part of Germany controlled by the Soviet Union", she said. We're protecting all of these countries. Coal remains a bedrock energy source for Germany despite its hope to wean itself from that mineral, and nuclear plants have several years of life before they are to be phased out.

Trump's pipeline criticism was an unusual line of attack for a president who has proclaimed himself eager to improve relations with Russia's Vladimir Putin and dismissed the US intelligence community's assessment that Russian Federation tried to undermine Western democracy by meddling in the 2016 USA presidential election to help Trump win. The president's real pique with Germany is that it won't t buy expensive liquefied gas from the USA but supports the building of a new commercial gas pipeline from Russian Federation. "Because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions".

Baltic leaders fearful of any repeat of Russia's annexation of Crimea called for unity as they arrived at the summit, while Slovakia's President Andrej Kiska said his country was "one of the good guys" because he was increasing defense spending. "But the strength of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is that despite these differences, we have always been able to unite around our core task, to protect and defend each other, because we understand that we are stronger together than apart". Roughly half of the pipeline's $9.5 billion price tag is financed by Germany's Uniper and Wintershall, France's Engie, Austria's OMV, and Dutch-British oil giant Royal Dutch Shell.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also responded Wednesday to Trump's remarks, offering Trump something of a history lesson.

Asked at a news conference about Trump's demands on defence spending, Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg suggested that the focus should be on getting every member country to reach the current goal of 2 per cent. "US spends too much".

Mr Trump is due to hold his first summit with Vladimir Putin, in Helsinki, on 16 July.

Trump didn't identify Nord Stream 2 by name. She said she and Obama discussed the topic.

"It is, rather, replacing one".

That ludicrous charge is based on a usual Trump stew of fake facts mixed with demagoguery. "So it's a purely political project".

On the dais, he and May chatted as they stood together, but Trump kept his back toward other leaders, including Merkel.

According to a column appearing in Newsweek, Canadian Defense Minister Daniel Le Bouthillier, the difference in spending has a lot to do with a series of one-off payments, particularly a retroactive pay increase for service members, and a large contribution to their pension fund.

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