Wednesday, February 20, 2019 04:25:36 PM
AP, Brussels :
President Donald Trump's demands that NATO member nations dramatically increase their spending on defense led leaders of the military alliance to meet in an emergency session on Thursday, officials said.
Two officials attending the summit confirmed the session. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the development.
Trump is expected to hold a news conference Thursday.
Trump on Thursday stepped up his pressure tactics on fellow NATO nations, calling out U.S. allies on Twitter as he attended a second day of meetings with leaders of the military alliance.
In a series of tweets from Brussels, Trump said "Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russia."
He complained the United States "pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe" and demanded that member nations meet their pledge to spend 2 percent of GDP on defense, which "must ultimately go to 4%!"
Trump has taken an aggressive tone during the NATO summit, questioning the value of an alliance that has defined decades of American foreign policy, torching an ally and proposing a massive increase in European defense spending.
Under fire for his warm embrace of Russia's Vladimir Putin, Trump on Wednesday turned a harsh spotlight on Germany's own ties to Russia, alleging that a natural gas pipeline venture with Moscow has left Angela Merkel's government "totally controlled" and "captive" to Russia.
He continued the attack Thursday, complaining that "Germany just started paying Russia, the country they want protection from, Billions of Dollars for their Energy needs coming out of a new pipeline from Russia."
"Not acceptable!" he railed before arriving late at NATO headquarters for morning meetings that will include talks with the leaders of Azerbaijan, Romania, Ukraine and Georgia. In the afternoon, he heads to his next stop: the United Kingdom.
Peter Navarro, director of the White House National Trade Council, echoed Trump's rhetoric, telling Fox Business Network that "Germany is a tremendous problem, both for Europe itself, and for the United States in this sense."
"What's more surprising, the fact that the President Trump is calling them out on that or that previous presidents haven't?" he asked. "It's really extraordinary that Donald Trump has to be the person to point out that the emperor in Europe has no clothes."
Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, shot back that she had "experienced myself a part of Germany controlled by the Soviet Union, and I'm very happy today that we are united in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and can thus say that we can determine our own policies and make our own decisions and that's very good."
During the trip, Trump has questioned the necessity of the alliance that formed a bulwark against Soviet aggression, tweeting after a day of contentious meetings: "What good is NATO if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy?"
He demanded that NATO countries "Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025" and then rattled them further by privately suggesting member nations should spend 4 percent of their gross domestic product on defense - a bigger share than even the United States currently pays, according to NATO statistics.
It was the most recent in a series of demands and insults that critics fear will undermine the decades-old alliance, coming days before Trump sits down with Putin at the conclusion of his closely watched European trip.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite told reporters she's comfortable with the Trump-Putin summit, but that it "depends very much on outcomes."
"These two people are very different, very interestingly different. Hopefully nothing bad happens," she said.
Trump has spent weeks berating members of the alliance for failing to spend enough of their money on defense, accusing Europe of freeloading off the U.S. and raising doubts about whether he would come to members' defense if they were ever attacked.
He described the current situation as "disproportionate and not fair to the taxpayers of the United States."
However, a formal summit declaration issued by the NATO leaders Wednesday reaffirmed their "unwavering commitment" to the 2 percent pledge set in 2014 and made no reference to any effort to get to 4 percent.
But Trump has been more conciliatory behind the scenes, including at a leaders' dinner Wednesday.
"I have to tell you that the atmosphere last night at dinner was very open, was very constructive and it was very positive," Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the president of Croatia, told reporters.
Amid the tumult, British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose government is in turmoil over her plans for exiting the European Union, sounded a call for solidarity among allies.
"As we engage Russia we must do so from a position of unity and strength - holding out hope for a better future, but also clear and unwavering on where Russia needs to change its behavior for this to become a reality," she said.
Although Trump administration officials point to the long-standing alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom, Trump's itinerary in England will largely keep him out of central London, where significant protests are expected.
Instead, a series of events - a black-tie dinner with business leaders, a meeting with May and an audience with Queen Elizabeth II - will happen outside the bustling city, where Mayor Sadiq Khan has been in a verbal battle with Trump.
Woody Johnson, the U.S. 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. And one of the freedoms we have is freedom of speech and the freedom to express your views. And I know that's valued very highly over here and people can disagree strongly and still go out to dinner."
He also said meeting the queen would be an experience Trump "will really cherish."
GAS explosion has become very common in the country nowadays. Even if someone escapes death, the victim has to suffer burn injury or loss of valuable organs. The authorities concerned still did not take any effective step to control such incidents. In the latest incident, seven people including a couple ...
Malaika Arora, who is recently making headlines for her relationship with Arjun Kapoor and the couples social PDA, recently opened up about her divorce with Arbaaz Khan on a radio show. Talking about her divorce she revealed that it was a mutual decision to part ways so that they could ...
Reuters, Islamabad :Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday Pakistan was ready to cooperate with India in its investigation of a deadly bombing in the disputed Kashmir region last week, which India blamed on Pakistan, but warned of retaliation if attacked.Tension between the nuclear-armed neighbors has risen sharply over the ...
ABOUT one lakh students have applied to the Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) of the Primary and Mass Education Ministry for reexamination of their results, claiming that justice will be established if the authorities work properly. Some of students who failed in the examination alleged that they did not get ...
AP, Washington :Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said in an interview that aired Sunday that a "crime may have been committed" when President Donald Trump fired the head of the FBI and tried to publicly undermine an investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia. McCabe also said in the ...
Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Actress of present generation Moury Salim has been engaged with acting for many days. Though she has been busy with acting for long time but could not get the opportunity to work in challenging roles properly or the directors did not utilise her acting quality appropriately. On ...
BBC Online :Real Madrid missed the chance to go second in La Liga as Girona came from behind to record a surprise away win on Sunday.Casemiro powerfully headed in from Toni Kroos' deep cross from the right wing to give the hosts a first-half lead.Cristhian Stuani's penalty made it 1-1 ...
THE international organisations and development partners working in Bangladesh did not surrender or renew the Customs Passbooks of their 395 non-Bangladeshi staff till the date. The National Board of Revenue had directed them to complete the task within the January 31 deadline, newspapers reported. According to NBR, employees of 21 ...
City Desk :A total of 40 under-graduate students from different academic years of Dhaka University (DU) have been awarded Sumitomo Corporation Scholarship of Japan today February 17, 2019 at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban of the university.Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Md. Akhtaruzzaman presided over the function while Treasurer ...
AFP, Colombo :Kusal Perera became a national hero in Sri Lanka on Sunday after scoring an unbeaten 153 to guide his country to a sensational first Test victory in South Africa.The country's cricket legends and politicians lauded Perera, who has become a linchpin for the ailing national side since fighting ...
AFP, Tokyo :Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated US President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize last autumn after being requested to do so by Washington, a Japanese newspaper reported Sunday.Washington sounded out Tokyo over the possibility of nominating Trump for the prize after his landmark summit with North ...
Actress Shraddha Kapoor obliges for some selfies with her fans amidst a busy schedule. The actress was pictured today in London where she is working on her upcoming project Street Dancer 3D. The official Instagram handle of Manav Manglani had recently posted pictures of her taking selfies for her fans ...