Trump forces North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to boost defence spending

French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian

Still, by the time it was over he was ebullient, saying that European allies and Canada had "really stepped up their commitment" - and intimating that his relentless hectoring had forced other allies to spend more than NATO's long-term goal of 2 percent of GDP on defense.

Mr Trump said he told counterparts on Wednesday that he was "extremely unhappy" with the lack of progress being made towards meeting the alliance target of spending 2% of GDP on defence.

Mr Trump said it's stronger than it was two days ago. 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.

Trump's comments came ahead of his summit on Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, though the Kremlin said they were unlikely to have an impact on what was always going to be a hard meeting due to the number of disagreements between the two countries. German officials, for example, say that in the 10 years to 2024, the country will have added 80 percent to its defense spending despite only inching up to 1.5 percent of GDP.

French President Emmanuel Macron and others said they did not hear in Trump's warning a direct threat to quit North Atlantic Treaty Organisation - though the words did cause alarm - and Trump himself later said such a move would be "unnecessary".

"That is all", Macron said.

He added: "It confirms the goal of 2% by 2024". Some NATO nations, like Turkey, have even chosen to buy Russian over United States arms in recent years, a fact that doesn't sit well with the administration.

But Macron disputed Trump's claims, saying that the joint statement the leaders had signed went no further than what had previously been agreed, apart from setting out how some countries plan to get there. Some of the closest U.S. allies were still reeling from Trump's diatribe accusing Germany of being "a captive of Russia" and insistence that "delinquent" allies increase defense spending "immediately". On Thursday, Trump said he wasn't troubled by the planned protests.

US-Russian relations have suffered from years of disagreement over the Syrian conflict, Russia's annexation of Crimea and its involvement in eastern Ukraine. I think it is a horrific thing that is being done, where you are feeding billions and billions of dollars from Germany primarily - and other countries - but primarily from Germany into the coffers of Russian Federation when we are trying to something to have peace in the world. He said it could lead to "something very productive - and maybe it's not". He said leaders committed to go to their parliaments to obtain the spending increases.

Under fire for his warm embrace of Russia's Vladimir Putin, Trump turned a harsh spotlight on Germany's own ties to Russian Federation, declaring Wednesday that a natural gas pipeline venture with Moscow has left Angela Merkel's government "totally controlled" and "captive" to Russian Federation.

"I think it is a frightful thing Germany is doing. Every single United States president has been pushing the point of extra spending since Reagan and they have all been played I am not going to be". Instead, they said, members reaffirmed the need to stay on track with military-budget increases that have already been underway and were branded insufficient by Trump a day earlier.

FORDHAM: Absolutely. I think that's part of the reason that Trump was light on details and part of the reason that the secretary general in his press conference right now was light on details.

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