Saturday, 22 September, 2018

Merkel responds to Trump: 'I have witnessed' Germany under Soviet control

WATCH Jens Stoltenberg updates on first working meeting of NATO summit WATCH Jens Stoltenberg updates on first working meeting of NATO summit
Julia Gonzales | 12 July, 2018, 14:17

The stance has heightened tensions among leaders at the summit, where the USA president has been lambasting other member states for failing to spend enough on defence.

"Germany is a captive of Russia because it is getting so much of its energy from Russia", Trump said, taking particular aim at the proposed Nord Stream II gas pipeline, which he has previously criticised.

Mr Trump opened his argument by questioning why Germany pays billions to Moscow for gas supplies but then demands the United States defends it from Russian Federation, saying repeatedly: "I think it's inappropriate".

The US leader has specifically singled out Germany for criticism over its defence spending.

"Germany is a captive to Russian Federation because it is getting so much of its energy from Russian Federation".

'In recent years we've seen Russian Federation stepping up its arms sales to Iran; shielding the Syrian regime's appalling use of chemical weapons; launching cyber-attacks that have caused huge economic damage; and spreading malicious and fake news stories on an industrial scale, ' she said.

"Not acceptable!" he railed before a day of events that will include meetings with the leaders of Azerbaijan, Romania, Ukraine and Georgia before he heads to his next stop: the United Kingdom. He then set the tone for the day with a blistering attack on key ally Germany at a breakfast meeting with Nato's Stoltenberg.

Speaking after a two-day summit in Brussels, he said allies had committed to spending more than 2% of their annual output (GDP) on defence budgets.

Four of Thailand's cave kids saved, rescue mission continues
The eight boys brought out by divers on Sunday and Monday were doing well and were in good spirits, a senior health official said. Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osatanakorn, who is heading the rescue effort, said that Tuesday's operation involved 19 divers.

It was the most recent in a series of demands and insults that critics fear will undermine a decades-old alliance launched to counterbalance Soviet aggressions. And it comes just days before Trump sits down with Putin at the conclusion of his closely watched European trip.

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev disclosed that Trump had made the demand and asked what it meant for the future of the alliance that has been the bedrock of European security for 70 years.

He described the current situation as "disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States".

Trump demanded by public tweet that members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization "must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025" for their military efforts.

In remarks later during the summit, however, President Trump increased pressure on allies over burden sharing, calling on allies to double defense spending targets to 4 percent, the White House confirmed. I am very happy that today we are united in freedom, the Federal Republic of Germany. He is undermining our interests.

Amid the tumult, British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose government is in turmoil over her plans for exiting the European Union, sounded a call for solidarity among allies.

Although Trump administration officials point to the long-standing alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom, Trump's itinerary in England will largely keep him out of central London, where significant protests are expected.

Following the summit sessions yesterday Mr Trump complained again that alliance members were not spending "nearly enough" on defence.

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