NATO summit: Donald Trump says allies have agreed to increase defence spending


July 12, 2018 21:07:50

United States President Donald Trump says he has gained concessions from NATO allies to increase their defence spending, while reaffirming a “very strong” commitment to the military alliance at a summit in Brussels.

Speaking at a media conference after two days of talks, Mr Trump said the US’s allies had committed to raising their commitment beyond 2 per cent.

Mr Trump said the agreement to bump spending would be worth more than $US33 billion.

The US President’s comments came after days of pressure on NATO members to contribute more, including publicly calling them out on Twitter and telling them he would be “very unhappy if they did not increase their defence spending substantially”.

But Mr Trump hinted he would not be happy with 2 per cent, saying 4 per cent would be a better level.

Amid reports that he had threatened to pull out of the alliance due to the dispute, Mr Trump said the US had a strong commitment.

“I believe in NATO,” Mr Trump said.

In a media conference where the US President again called himself a “very stable genius” and referenced his electoral college victory in the 2016 election, Mr Trump said he considers Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “competitor” rather than an enemy.

Mr Trump said he didn’t want Russia to be a threat, while adding that his meeting with Mr Putin next week “may be the easiest on his Europe trip”.

“Is he my enemy? He is not my enemy … hopefully someday maybe he will be a friend,” Mr Trump said.

“I just don’t know him very well.”

Mr Trump also said he thought the NATO countries and Russia would be “able to get along”.

“I think we will be able to,” he said.

More to come.










First posted

July 12, 2018 20:46:09

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