Macron says North Atlantic Treaty Organisation debates were 'frank and respectful'

RED BOX | COMMENTJuly 12 2018 12:01am The Times If Trump smashes the crockery at Nato May will have to pick up the pieces Sir Christopher Meyer

RED BOX | COMMENTJuly 12 2018 12:01am The Times If Trump smashes the crockery at Nato May will have to pick up the pieces Sir Christopher Meyer

However, Iran was now "treating us with much more respect right now, than they did in the past", Trump added.

Trump ignored the first question, but on the second question, he said, "I think I can".

"I read the 140-character messages", Macron said.

The White House on Wednesday claimed chief of staff John Kelly looked "displeased" during part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels because "he was expecting a full breakfast and there were only pastries and cheese".

At breakfast he had spoken of Germany as a "captive" of Russian Federation because of the two countries' energy relationship, which he labelled "inappropriate".

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

According to a joint declaration prepared in advance of the summit, part of which was seen by AFP, NATO members will make an "unwavering commitment to all aspects of the defence investment pledge agreed at the 2014 Wales Summit" which includes the two percent target. Trump's suggestion was informal and made in a closed-door session of on Wednesday, but it did little to ease tensions at an already charged meeting.

Trump says at a news conference Thursday in Brussels that he told "people" that he would be "very unhappy" if they didn't increase their commitments.

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Ukraine and parts of eastern Europe fear their partners to the west may be much less vocal next time if they receive their natural gas through a different set of pipelines, allowing Russian Federation to cut off its unruly neighbours with impunity. But with tensions in the Western alliance smouldering over Trump's trade tariffs on European steel and his demands for more contributions to ease the burden on United States taxpayers, his earlier remarks fuelled concerns among allies for the USA role in keeping the peace that has reigned since World War II. You'll be the first to know, ' he told reporters.

In remarks later during the summit, however, President Trump increased pressure on allies over burden sharing, calling on allies to double defense spending targets to 4 percent, the White House confirmed.

Instead, a series of events - a black-tie dinner with business leaders, a meeting with May and an audience with Queen Elizabeth II - will happen outside the bustling city, where Mayor Sadiq Khan has been in a verbal battle with Trump.

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 United States president withdraw from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal and impose tariffs on European goods. US Turkish relations have recently been strained because of issues ranging from Syria to Iran, but some diplomats say the two leaders - both criticised for their polarising politics - have established a bond.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (center L) shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump during a NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 11, 2018.

But now, according to media reports, Trump has threatened to withdraw the USA from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO, ) or to change its pivotal role in the alliance, over the matter.

Funding has averaged about $1 billion annually and Stoltenberg has said he expected that level to be met.

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