NNA - U.S. President Trump has reportedly renewed his sharp criticism of NATO allies at the alliance’s Brussels summit on July 12 -- leading to a previously unscheduled, allies-only meeting.
The emergency meeting took place after a session on Black Sea security and before a scheduled session on Afghanistan.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after the closed-door talks that there was "clear commitment to NATO" by all in alliance's emergency session.
Meanwhile, Washington announced that Trump would hold a press conference in the aftermath of the unscheduled talks.
Reuters quotes two unnamed sources who said Trump launched a fresh attack against NATO allies about their defense spending and European trade practices during a session that was meant to focus on Black Sea security.
They said that, following Trump's criticism, which singled out Germany and Spain, NATO leaders asked the presidents of non-member NATO partner states Ukraine and Georgia to leave the room so they could conduct the emergency "allies-only" talks.
AFP quoted an unnamed diplomatic source as saying that during the closed-door session with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili, "Trump took advantage of his speaking time to return to the issue of burden sharing" -- prompting NATO Secretary General to convene the emergency meeting,
Earlier on July 12, Trump had tweeted during a summit session that NATO countries "Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025."
Trump on July 12 also tweeted: “The U.S. pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe, and loses Big on Trade!”
Trump has previously called on other NATO states to meet a commitment made in 2014 to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense by the end of 2024.
He stunned his European counterparts on July 11 by calling on them to double their commitments on military spending to 4 percent of GDP.
According to NATO statistics, that's a bigger share than the United States currently pays.
Trump's latest outburst may come as a blow to NATO leaders who had been hoping for a less confrontational tone on the final day of their summit in Brussels, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump accused Germany of being "captive" to Russia for energy and demanded that alliance members double their commitments on defense spending. -- Sources