German, NATO officials wary of Trump-Putin summit

Lester Mason
July 9, 2018

Flake said many key USA allies were concerned about Trump's rhetoric on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and that although he was "glad" Trump put pressure on member nations to meet their commitments to defense spending, his criticism of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance put member nations at unease. Trump asked Putin in a November phone call, according to one senior official.

The U.S. president - the de facto leader of the almost 70-year-old North Atlantic Treaty Organisation - has indicated what his message will be at the two-day meeting from Wednesday: other governments must dramatically step up military spending and lower import tariffs.

Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned in a recent speech that "old pillars of reliability are crumbling", in a veiled reference to the USA withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to tariffs on European Union metals exports and the threat of more to come on cars.

In this photo made available by the German Federal Government, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, speaks with U.S. President Donald Trump, seated at right, during the G7 Leaders Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, on Saturday, June 9, 2018.

"I think it's fine to talk to the Russians, but the president should clearly understand that neither the Russians nor dictators like Kim Jong Un are going to be charmed by anybody", Blunt said on NBC's "Meet the Press". Thousands more rotate into other European countries temporarily. It has sent more military equipment, participated in regional exercises, signed new defense agreements with Sweden and Finland and increased the number of Marines in Norway on a rotational basis by 350 and in Poland by a battalion.

"Of course, we want to have a responsible relationship with Russia", Merkel added.

European leaders are reportedly nervous that President Donald Trump will make good on his campaign promise to withdraw USA troops from the continent if host countries fail to pay their fair share for defense.

"One and a half per cent is not 2 percent", he told Bild am Sonntag newspaper. "But I am concerned, and I know there is concern across Europe, about what might be promised".

In recent weeks, Trump suggested withdrawing more than 25,000 USA troops stationed in South Korea after trying to persuade Kim to rid his country of nuclear weapons.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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