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Published: Fri, May 26, 2017
Research | By Jennifer Evans

Trump pushes aside Montenegro leader _ who calls it natural

Trump pushes aside Montenegro leader _ who calls it natural

In a speech at the opening of NATO's new headquarters, Trump slammed USA allies for not spending enough on defense before an uncomfortable-looking audience of fellow heads of state, and in between sparked awkward run-ins with other leaders that underscored strained U.S.

"If NATO countries made their full and complete contributions, the NATO would be even stronger than it is today, especially from the threat of terrorism", said Trump.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday reiterated his stand that all 28 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members needed to contribute their fair share of funds to their defence budget, reported AFP. Trump said: "Twenty-three of 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they are supposed to be paying for their defence".

Trump's remarks - paired with his conspicuous decision not to reiterate United States commitment to NATO's mutual defense provision, Article 5 - are likely to unsettle allies who had hoped to hear Trump assuage their concerns about his commitment to the historic alliance. "We have a lot to discuss, including terrorism and other things".

Unlike Vice President Mike Pence and Defense Secretary James Mattis in separate statements earlier this year, Trump never committed to Article 5.

In one nod to Trump, NATO leaders are due to agree later on Thursday for the Western military bloc to join the USA -led, 68-nation coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

This is the freakish moment Donald Trump appears to shove a fellow world leader out of the way to get a good spot for a group photo.

Diplomatic sources say some member states such as France, Germany and Italy had opposed such a move for fear the alliance would be dragged into a ground war and risk relations with Arab powers. In the face of division, NATO Allies stood united.

Trump also held talks with new French President Emmanuel Macron, with the pair appearing to engage in a brief yet weird battle to see who could shake hands the hardest.

Although he has since softened his tone in phone calls and meetings with Western leaders, Trump's sharp words on Thursday recalled his awkward meeting with Angela Merkel in March, when he pressed the German chancellor for Germany to meet NATO's military spending target.

Prime Minister Charles Michel said he insisted that Trump should unequivocally back the Paris Agreement on climate change and honor the US commitment to multilateral trade agreements, two issues about which Trump has raised doubts.

But the USA president was in belligerent mood as he unveiled a 9/11 memorial outside the building, accusing allies of hitching a free ride on the U.S. taxpayer for years.

Others thought if Trump continued to harp allies on defense spending, it could backfire.

The NATO summit began with a solemn ceremony inaugurating two monuments at the new headquarters: one with two sections of the Berlin Wall that divided the German city until 1989, and another formed from a piece of World Trade Center 1, a steel beam from the 107th floor of one of the towers downed by al-Qaida extremists on September 11, 2001. Trump said on Twitter after the meeting he is "more determined than ever to pursue PEACE in our world".

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