North Atlantic Treaty Organisation gets ready for Trump

Instead, European leaders gazed unsmilingly at Trump while he said that "23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they are supposed to be paying", and that they owe "massive amounts" from past years - a misstatement of NATO's spending targets, which guide individual nations' own domestic spending decisions. In a sign of growing frustration felt by EU leaders, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, speaking after meeting Trump in Brussels, defended European defense spending saying "Europe is taking on greater responsibility on defense".

TAORMINA, Italy European Council President Donald Tusk said on Friday he was "positively surprised" by Donald Trump's support for the EU as it manages Britain's departure, adding the USA president had agreed Brexit was just "an incident and not a threat".

The small Balkan country will formally become NATO's 29th state in June but Markovic joined the Brussels summit, Trump's first, and a ceremonial opening of the alliance's new headquarters.

On U.S. commitment to NATO, Stoltenberg said "Trump inaugurated a 9/11 Article 5 memorial today, which is the strongest expression of U.S. support for NATO". Rand Paul said he applauded Trump's stance. During last year's Republican primary campaign, Trump alleged, "NATO is costing us a fortune" and is "obsolete" because other nations aren't pulling their weight. Most NATO members, meanwhile, spend less than the 2 percent benchmark.

Mr. Trump is not the only USA president to urge allies to increase military spending, but he is the first to not explicitly commit to NATO's collective defense clause: "An attack on one is an attack on all".

Some NATO leaders, including Prime Minister Xavier Bettel of Luxembourg and President Emmanuel Macron, were reportedly seen sharing secret side-glances with amused looks in their eyes as Trump lectured sternly from the podium. Trump stood beside a section of wrenched steel from the downed World Trade Center Towers, a relic North Atlantic Treaty Organisation calls the "Article V artifact", to signify that post-9/11 invocation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation charter's article holding that an attack on any one member would be considered an attack on all.

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  • Leroy Wright