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NATO goes to emergency session after Trump reportedly gets undiplomatic with Merkel

12 Juillet 2018

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) looks on as US President Donald Trump speaks to other leaders as they pose for a family photo at the Park of the Cinquantenaire during the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018.

"I told people that I'd be very unhappy if they did not up their commitments very substantially", Trump said after the meeting.

U.S. President Donald Trump launched a fresh attack on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies' failure to raise defence spending on Thursday, prompting leaders to huddle in a special session excluding other summit participants, sources told Reuters.

Moreover, Stoltenberg argued Wednesday that the USA military presence in Europe, through the 29-country alliance, gives it an advantage in dealing with Russian Federation and projecting power in the Middle East and Africa.

Trump tweets: "Why are their (sic) only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment?"

Alluding to Trump's comments about Germany, Kerry also said that "European energy security is an important topic for allies to discuss, even when they disagree".

But White House Chief of Staff John Kelly may have stolen the show at the breakfast, with his eye rolling and fidgeting as Trump was attacking Germany. "I experienced, in person, that part of Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union", Merkel said, harking back to her childhood in Templin before Germany's reunification in 1989, Deutsche Welle reported.

The meeting of Western leaders in Brussels has the potential to turn into another public bust-up following a divisive and bad-tempered summit of G7 nations in Canada in June. Also present was France's President Emmanuel Macron, who tried this year to charm Mr Trump into more harmonious transatlantic relationship, only to see the U.S. president withdraw from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal and impose tariffs on European goods. We are good partners, and we wish to continue to cooperate in the future. "So I think that's inappropriate also", Trump claimed.

Trump describes it as a "loose meeting" and says "we'll see where it leads".

Trump also singled out Germany over its low-levels of defense spending - it now spends 1.24 percent of its GDP on defense - and renewed his criticism of a controversial gas pipeline deal between Germany and Russian Federation made a day earlier. But Trudeau appeared to be far from Trump's orbit during the traditional gathering of leaders for the NATO family photo op and ceremony, standing quietly to the side as Trump chatted with Britain's Theresa May, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel. In 2017, Germany got more than one-third of its energy for electricity from coal and almost 12 percent from nuclear plants.

NATO goes to emergency session after Trump reportedly gets undiplomatic with Merkel