Allies doubt Trump threatened to bail on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in spending feud

In February, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said only about half of the alliance's 29 members are on track to meet the 2024 deadline - which he said would boost spending by $46 billion.

US President Donald Trump launched a strong verbal attack on Germany on Wednesday (11 July) for its support to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, aimed at bringing more Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea. But now, according to media reports, Trump has threatened to withdraw the USA from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ) or to change its pivotal role in the alliance, over the matter.

He said the US commitment to the 29-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization remains very strong and cited "the additional money they will be putting up" and "the level of spirit in that room" during the meetings.

Trump said there had been "tremendous progress" after his "firm" warnings during the tense two-day meeting in Brussels, during which he singled out Germany for special criticism.

Trump threw the summit into turmoil by demanding not only that allies reach their commitment to increase spending to two percent of GDP "immediately" - instead of by 2024 as previously agreed - but also telling them to eventually double the figure to a punishing four percent.

"The communique is clear", Macron said.

In the closed-door session, Trump told his counterparts that if they did not meet their defense 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.

Trump also pointed to progress over the last year, prior to this North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, to tout his success at this year's summit - something the United States ambassador to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation had previously touted in a conference call with reporters ahead of the summit.

Queen will greet US President at Windsor Castle
Mr Trump said he had told Ms May how to do a Brexit deal, but the Prime Minister did not heed his advice. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has urged those attending the protests not to cause trouble.

Trump was whisked away to an oasis of warm greetings at a black-tie reception at Blenheim, birthplace of Winston Churchill, the larger-than-life British leader cited by the president as a model of leadership. Trump wants the spending to go up to 4% of GDP, which is more than even the USA now spends on defense.

But I would also encourage the president to exercise caution with Russian Federation - which has proven to be a hostile nation to the United States and our Western allies. "Although our views on several issues differ, the alliance maintains a firm dialogue with Russian Federation", he added, mentioning the Crimea situation and the differences in the countries' views on the control of chemical weapons use.

When asked how he planned to fix the situation, Trump said: "If I knew, I wouldn't tell you, because that would put us at a disadvantage".

FORDHAM: I don't think from speaking to diplomats there that people thought it was likely, but just the suggestion that it might be possible did definitely make people nervous.

Few European governments dispute that they could do a lot better. "That is all", Macron said.

And he praised himself for getting them all to sign up to bigger defence budgets and sharing the financial burden more equally.

Countries also committed in 2014 to ensure that 20% of defence spending went on equipment - 15 countries are hitting that target.

Shortly after Trump's comments were posted by The Sun, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted her boss holds his United Kingdom counterpart May in high esteem. Leaders explained to Trump that they could not make firm commitments inside the closed meeting, since majority needed parliamentary consent to expand budgets.

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