Donald Trump claims victory on NATO military spending

Jul 14, 2018, 11:59 IST | Agencies

EU members contradict assertion that US prez secured notable concessions

Donald Trump claims victory on NATO military spending
(From L to R, first row) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May at the NATO headquarters. Pics/Getty Images, AFP

US President Donald Trump has claimed victory at the NATO summit, saying progress had been made on defence spending only hours after throwing the Brussels meeting intodisarray with fresh attacks on European allies.

Asked whether he had threatened to pull out of NATO, Trump did not directly deny it. He told a surprise press conference before he was scheduled to leave that he only told people he would be "extremely unhappy" if spending was not increased. Trump claimed he could pull the US out of NATO without the approval of Congress. "I think I probably can but that's unnecessary," he said.

He said the alliance members had agreed to reach spending two per cent of GDP on defence faster than previously planned and claimed financial commitments would increase beyond that in future. But other delegations and NATO officials contradicted Trump, saying he had secured no significant concessions and their defence spending plans remained basically the same as they had been before.

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