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13 July 2018, 07:49 | Glen Norman
Pipes used in the existing Nord Stream pipeline
U.S. President Donald Trump closed out his chaotic two-day visit to NATO Thursday by declaring victory, claiming that member nations caved to his demands to significantly increase defence spending and reaffirming his commitment to the alliance.
Trump is set to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for their first ever summit in Helsinki on July 16 though Moscow said the former's remarks were unlikely to affect what was always going to be a hard summit between two countries known to have several differences, the Reutersreport added.
"We're supposed to protect you against Russian Federation but [Germany is] paying billions of dollars to Russian Federation, and I think that's very inappropriate", Trump told Stoltenberg.
"Trump did in Brussels what he has done elsewhere: He manufactured a crisis and then grandiosely claimed to have fixed it, leaving America's allies bruised and irritated", Paris said.
Though NATO allies have squabbled in the past, Trump seemed to be leaving in his wake not just bruised feelings, but deeper concerns about the future of the Western alliance that has served as a bedrock of the worldwide order.
A USA official said Trump would be ready to talk about New Start if Putin raised it, but it was not a big US priority.
Other US companies that stand to benefit from the US arms sales push include missiles maker Raytheon Co and General Dynamics Corp, which builds warships and other military equipment. He also wrongly stated he had achieved an increase in defense spending by USA allies, when no such agreement was reached.
According to the US leader, Germany "got rid of their coal plants, got rid of their nuclear, they're getting so much of the oil and gas from Russian Federation".
All 29 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders including Trump backed a joint statement committing themselves to greater "burden sharing" and to the alliance's founding commitment that an attack on one member is an attack on them all - with no mention of the four per cent.
Trump poured fuel on the Brexit fire just hours before he was due to land there, saying he was not sure that Britons had voted for the Brexit plan presented by Prime Minister Theresa May, which has triggered a British cabinet rebellion. And we stressed our well-known concerns about Nord Stream 2, Sefcovic said at a press conference on Thursday after the EU-U.S. Energy Council held in Brussels.
He continued the attack Thursday, complaining that, "Germany just started paying Russian Federation, the country they want protection from, Billions of Dollars for their Energy needs coming out of a new pipeline from Russian Federation".
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Woody Johnson, the USA ambassador to the United Kingdom, dismissed the significance of the protests, telling Fox News that one of the reasons the two countries are so close "is because we have the freedoms that we've all fought for".
The pair later met for a one-on-one meeting and while Trump insisted they had a "very very good relationship", their frosty body language suggested otherwise.
"The President said his meeting with the Russian leader may be the easiest" part of his European tour, with massive protests expected over his presence in London. Trump's is scheduled to meet with Putin in Helsinki on Monday.
U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican, criticized Trump for saying that.
"What you spend on a military budget doesn't necessarily automatically lead to greater capacity to contribute to NATO's defence", he said.
Merkel said she welcomed the chance to have an "exchange of views" with Trump. "They like me a lot in the U.K".
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