Fact-checking Trump's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation news conference

RED BOX | COMMENTJuly 12 2018 12:01am The Times If Trump smashes the crockery at Nato May will have to pick up the pieces Sir Christopher Meyer

RED BOX | COMMENTJuly 12 2018 12:01am The Times If Trump smashes the crockery at Nato May will have to pick up the pieces Sir Christopher Meyer

President Donald Trump on Thursday reaffirmed the USA commitment to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation after days of threatening the body, taking full credit for increases in defense spending by member nations.

The Nato leaders, gathered in Brussels, held an unplanned emergency meeting earlier on Thursday after Mr Trump told allies to immediately increase their defence spending, diplomatic sources said.

Also Thursday, Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg insisted that Georgia will one day join the world's biggest security alliance, despite separatist ambitions in parts of the former Soviet republic.

"They are going to up it to levels like they have never though it before, " he said.

Trump did not specify which countries had committed to what, and it remained unclear whether any had changed their plans.

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.

Schroeder went on to become a board member of several consortiums in which Russian government-controlled energy company Gazprom is at least the majority shareholder.

Trump has berated members of the alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defense, accusing Europe of freeloading off the USA and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defense if they were attacked.

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Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune, who also traveled to Russian Federation, said Trump should be prepared for complete denials and well-rehearsed answers when he meets with Putin in Finland's capital. He may deny it, ' Trump said. I just asked him again.

"How can you be together when a country is getting its energy from the person you want protection against?"

"We are supposed to be guarding against Russian Federation, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions dollars a year to Russian Federation". Trump said he had a "very, very good relationship" with Merkel, who described the two as "good partners".

According to a joint declaration prepared in advance of the summit, part of which was seen by AFP, NATO members will make an "unwavering commitment to all aspects of the defence investment pledge agreed at the 2014 Wales Summit" which includes the two percent target.

Trump has been more conciliatory behind the scenes, including at a leaders' dinner Wednesday.

It followed an uncomfortable first round at the summit where anxious Western allies were subjected to the US president's "America first" approach.

"Because we understand that when we stand together, also in dealing with Russian Federation, we are stronger", Stoltenberg said. In the afternoon, he heads to his next stop: the United Kingdom.

The meeting brought together Mr Trump and Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau, who irritated the U.S. president at the G7 by declaring that his country would not be pushed around. US Turkish relations have recently been strained because of issues ranging from Syria to Iran, but some diplomats say the two leaders - both criticised for their polarising politics - have established a bond. And one of the freedoms we have is freedom of speech and the freedom to express your views. Of the alliance, he said it was "very unified, very strong, no problem". I think that's a real possibility, ' he said.

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