Saturday, 22 September, 2018

Poland: Trump's tough talk on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation good for eastern flank

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Steven Clarke | 12 July, 2018, 18:34

The summit in Brussels is shaping up as the alliance's most hard in years, against a backdrop of growing unease about the threat from Russian Federation and deepening transatlantic tensions in fields ranging from trade to energy.

Trump's remarks on Germany and Russian Federation generated a sharply worded response from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In fact, Trump didn't just suggest he couldn't do anything to force the issue with Putin; he even seemed to acknowledge the possibility of concessions to Russian Federation.

"I know they're having a lot of problems and their economy is collapsing, but I will tell you this - at a certain point they're going to call me and they're going to say let's make a deal".

"President Trump's utterances not only opened the door for a new system overseas", he added, "they could also turn back the global clock centuries". EURACTIV broke the story.

"NATO is not a stock exchange where you can buy security".

Arriving at Nato, Ms Merkel sought to put her countries ties to the western alliance in historical context.

Leaders of Azerbaijan and Georgia, non-NATO members, were asked to leave for the emergency session.

The mood was already prickly ahead of the summit, prompting a terse exhortation from the European Union's President Donald Tusk for Trump to "appreciate" his allies and reminding him that Europe had come to its aid following the 9/11 attacks.

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Mr Trump refused to deny that he had threatened to pull the United States out of the organisation, but said the atmosphere in the meeting was cordial. This time, allies could breathe a sigh of relief as Trump signed the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit's Brussels Declaration on Transatlantic Security and Solidarity, reaffirming the shared goals of the organization Trump once called "obsolete".

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.

Amid the tumult, British Prime Minister Theresa May sounded a call for solidarity among the allies, saying, "As we engage Russian Federation we must do so from a position of unity and strength - holding out hope for a better future, but also clear and unwavering on where Russian Federation needs to change its behavior for this to become a reality".

Trump said his summit with Putin, which will take place on Monday in Helsinki, would be a loose meeting with "no big schedule" - but one that could still be productive. They'll also discuss a new Command Structure, and military mobility.

Trump's next stop will be London, where he'll be meeting with Queen Elizabeth II and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Funding has averaged about $1 billion annually and Stoltenberg has said he expected that level to be met.

Before he visits with Putin, Trump will visit London and the United Kingdom - where many large protests are planned against his policies.

In the closed-door session, Trump told his counterparts that if they did not meet their military spending targets of 2 percent of gross domestic product by January, the United States would go it alone, according to two officials briefed on the meeting.

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