Trump claims North Atlantic Treaty Organisation victory after 'go it alone' ultimatum

Canadian special forces look over a Peshmerga observation post in northern Iraq on Feb. 20 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Ryan Remiorz

Canadian special forces look over a Peshmerga observation post in northern Iraq on Feb. 20 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS Ryan Remiorz

"Yesterday I let them know that I was extremely unhappy with what was happening", Trump said, adding that, in response, European countries agreed to up their spending. We have a fundamental disagreements on principles and objectives between Trump and the Europeans.

He said the USA "pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe" and demanded that members meet their pledge to spend 2 percent of GDP on defence, which "must ultimately go to 4%!"

On both matters, Republican senators said they agreed with Trump's message.

But now, according to media reports, Trump has threatened to withdraw the US from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ) or to change its pivotal role in the alliance, over the matter. "He generally dislikes the Alliance and Allied solidarity, the very principle of an alliance and mulitlareral frameworks", she said.

He also pressed allies to hit the 2 percent goal "immediately". Only eight countries expect to meet the target in 2018, he said.

The US President accused Germany of being a "a captive of the Russians" because of its dependence on energy supplies. Describing the dynamics of the talks, he said, "I was using the term a lot today: burden-sharing". Of the alliance, he said it was "very unified, very strong, no problem".

When asked about that, Trump said he believed he could do that without Congressional approval but it was "not necessary". "And I know that's valued very highly over here and people can disagree strongly and still go out to dinner".

"We are supposed to be guarding against Russian Federation, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions dollars a year to Russian Federation".

"Prior to past year where I attended my first meeting", Trump said of spending commitments by member nations, "it was going down, the amount of money being spent by countries was going down and down very substantially, and now it's going up very substantially. And yet, he came into the news conference and declared victory", Bays said.

But coming a few days before he is to meet President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Trump's critical stance toward the allies intensified attention on longstanding concerns by the United States about the willingness of Europe to shoulder its share of the financial burden for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Officials at the meeting said Trump had shocked many present and broke with diplomatic protocol by addressing German Chancellor Merkel by her first name, telling her: "Angela, you need to do something about this".

Asked if he threatened to leave, Trump did not give a direct answer.

"I brought it up, no one brought it up but me. All I can do is say "Did you?' and 'Don't do it again" - but he may deny it".

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