Trump asks allies to increase spending for NATO

Trump asks allies to increase spending for NATO Izvor: REUTERS

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday suggested NATO leaders increase their defence spending to 4 percent - doubling the 2 percent target that many NATO countries have yet to meet, CNN writes.

"During the President's remarks Wednesday, at the NATO summit he suggested that countries not only meet their commitment of 2 percent of their GDP on defence spending, but that they increase it to 4 percent," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed in a statement.

Sanders said Trump "raised this same issue" at NATO last year.

"President Trump wants to see our allies share more of the burden and at a very minimum meet their already stated obligations," Sanders said.

But according to the latest numbers from NATO, the US doesn't even spend as much as Trump is calling on other countries too.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump said the US, "in actual numbers," is spending 4.2 percent of its GDP on defence. However, according to numbers just released by NATO on Tuesday, the US is expected to spend an estimated 3.5 percent of the GDP on defence in 2018. That is lower than last year's number, which was at 3.57 percent. Germany's estimated for 2018 is 1.21 percent, slightly higher than last year's.

"On top of that, Germany is just paying a little bit over 1 percent, whereas the United States, in actual numbers, is paying 4.2 percent of a much larger GDP," Trump said during a breakfast with the NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

One senior European diplomat told CNN that Trump's suggestion was "not good."

"The summit should send a strong signal to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, and now show strong differences between allies. We would prefer a different situation," the diplomat told CNN's Michelle Kosinski.

"But we're not worried about it. We compare it to fights among families. Things can get nasty, but it's still a family," the diplomat added.

Trump has long complained that NATO members are not meeting their fiscal obligations to the alliance.

On Wednesday, Trump singled out Germany for particular criticism as he continued to assail NATO allies for failing to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defence spending, a target NATO allies agreed to meet by 2024.

Addressing reporters within hours of Trump's comments, German Chancellor Angela Merkel touted German contributions to NATO and in defence of US interests.

"Germany also does a lot for NATO. We are the second largest donor of troops, we put most of our military abilities into the service of NATO and we are strongly committed in Afghanistan, where we also defend the interests of the United States of America. Because the deployment in Afghanistan has to do with the only example of Article 5," Merkel said upon arriving at NATO headquarters Wednesday.

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