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Merkel fires back at Trump, says Germany is ‘independent’

12 July 2018, 02:31 | Darnell Patrick

Merkel fires back at Trump, says Germany is ‘independent’

U.S. President Donald Trump attends a meeting of the North Atlantic Council during a summit of heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday

Trump has called on allied countries to meet or exceed the 2014 Wales summit goal of spending 2 percent GDP on defense spending.

She told allies they should work together to "raise the cost" of malign behaviour whenever it occurred, calling out cyber-attacks, taking action against intelligence networks of hostile states and bringing in tough sanctions against aggressors.

In a bid to avoid a row, Stoltenberg replied: "Nato is an alliance of 29 nations and there are sometimes differences..."

The NATO chief was frank about the impact of Trump's criticism on the organisation.

According to a French official, Trump said it would be a good thing if everyone spent around 4 percent on defense, which was presumed to be a generous rounding up of the USA budget of some 3.57 percent of GDP. "If we look at the gas pipeline, Germany is an independent country".

He saidthey discussed defense investment and trade, adding: "We have a tremendous relationship with Germany". German Chancellor Angela Merkel fired back at Trump's accusation with a pithy comment.

"I'm very glad that today we are united in freedom. because of that we can say that we can make our independent policies and make independent decisions".

Ministers are concerned that the bilateral talks, straight after the USA president's first official visit to Britain, could result in a deal that could harm North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or heighten tensions on Europe's eastern borders.

Trump has preferred to take aim at allies.

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Mr. Trump's charges flipped the narrative about Russia, which previously centered on his praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

During a heated breakfast meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg Wednesday, Trump said Germany pays billions of dollars to Russian Federation and "we have to defend them against Russian Federation".

Trump, Smith said, "upended world order in the way that no president has. Explain that. And it can't be explained, you know that".

Trump has long fueled such criticisms. Munich's Süddeutsche Zeitung headlined its story: "It is not only bad, it is catastrophic". "We're supposed to be guarding against Russian Federation and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russian Federation".

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which intentionally skirts Eastern European nations like Poland and Ukraine, has caused many of Germany's allies to bristle, though Berlin has defended it by saying it would be merely one of many sources of natural gas.

"The president is going to mention the fact that Europe is becoming more and more dependent on Russian Federation for their energy sources, specifically Germany with their invitation to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline", Barrasso told Fox News.

Trump's laser-focus on Germany has unsettled Berlin, which had grown accustomed to a strong relationship with President Barack Obama.

"The former chancellor of Germany is head of the pipeline company that's supplying the gas", Mr. Trump said.

Journalists were allowed briefly into the room at the end of their meeting, but both leaders avoided publicly blasting each other face-to-face.



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