Trump meets EU leaders in Brussels
- Author: Leroy Wright May 25, 2017,
May 25, 2017, 21:10
Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that joining the USA -led anti-Islamic State coalition "will send a strong political message of NATO's commitment to the fight against terrorism and also improve our coordination within the coalition". But President Trump's priorities will be combatting Islamist terrorism and securing NATO's official commitment to become a much more active partner in that effort.
Also joining the talks will be the bloc's chief executive, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
"I'm not 100 per cent sure that we can say today - "we" means Mr President and myself - that we have a common position, common opinion about Russia", Tusk said after meeting Trump at European Union headquarters in Brussels.
The president will continue to meet with European leaders to discuss a variety of issues.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has joined President Donald Trump for the next leg of his trip and is participating in meetings with European leaders.
After observing a moment of silence for the Manchester terror victims, Trump insisted that many North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members are not paying "their fair share" and many "still need to pay more from past years".
Trump announced a review of the "deeply troubling" leaks and warned that those responsible could face prosecution, the White House said.
Stoltenberg said the allies would also meet Tusk's demands to share more of the security burden and reaffirm a commitment to spend 2.0 percent of annual GDP on defence.
While he also accused low-spending members of the alliance of owing "massive amounts of money" to NATO, Trump said he and allies would drive out militants and urged all nations to do the same.
"We saw two different Trumps", one European Union official said, describing campaign comments about the benefits of Britain's exit and probability of further departures as "the Nigel Farage era" when the UK Independence Party leader had Trump's ear, and saying that was followed by a "more pragmatic and realistic" approach once Trump was installed in the White House. "It was agreed to start work on a joint action plan on trade".
Asked about Trump not explicitly affirming US support for Article 5, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said: "It goes without saying".
While in Belgium, Trump will unveil a memorial to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the only time in the alliance's history that the Article 5 mutual defence pledge has been invoked. 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.
Tusk also called for "Western values" to be promoted, challenging former tycoon Trump's world view that self-interested deals best settle global problems. After rapturous receptions in Saudi Arabia and Israel, and a polite meeting with Pope Francis in Rome, Trump will likely encounter significant protests in a capital city where he is unpopular.
The visit comes as part of Trump's first worldwide trip.