EU's Tusk says no 'common position' on Russian Federation with Trump
- Author: Joanne Flowers May 25, 2017,
May 25, 2017, 22:10
Despite Trump having backed Britain's Brexit vote past year, it was all smiles at the headquarters of the European Union as Trump met the bloc's top two officials, Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker.
President Trump supported the U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union, while also stating that other countries should do the same. "But some issues remain open, like climate and trade".
The 28 member nations, plus soon-to-join Montenegro, were to renew a previous commitment to move toward spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024.
However, EU officials believe Trump has come to appreciate more since taking office the value of European integration to US interests. Only five members now meet the target: Britain, Estonia, debt-laden Greece, Poland and the United States, which spends more on defense than all the other allies combined.
European Union officials were skeptical in advance of Trump's visit.
British officials have expressed frustration over leaks to US media on their investigation into Monday's suicide bombing in Manchester which killed 22 people and, according to a British counter-terrorism source, have stopped sharing information on the bombing with the United States. World leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and US.
Trump, who unlike other leaders at the summit is not planning to address reporters, did not respond to shouted questions as to whether the United Kingdom can trust the USA with sensitive material. "And I am not 100 per cent sure that we can say today - we means Mr. President and myself - that we have a common position, common opinions about Russian Federation", said Tusk, who said unity needed to be found around values like freedom and human rights and dignity. The two men were meeting for the first time.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she will tell Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that she plans to withdraw her country's troops from an air base near the Syrian border if lawmakers are banned from visiting them.
Trump has made enlisting North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State a key objective of the summit, saying the Manchester killings showed how risky the threat was and that there was no option but to defeat the jihadists completely.
An anti-terror coordinator may also be named.
Moreover, the White House had sent recent signals that the United States would stay in NATO's mutual defense pact, known as Article 5, which had been invoked just once before: after the terror attack of September 11, 2001. Barack Obama made a case for American involvement internationally, saying "we can't isolate ourselves, we can't hide behind a wall" in the hours before Merkel was set to meet Trump in Brussels.
Brussels is the fourth stop on Trump's nine-day global trip, the first such trip of his presidency.
The NATO summit will be full of pomp and symbolism, with the keen-to-impress alliance showing off its new $1.2-billion (1.1 billion-euro) headquarters and staging a flypast.