North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit: EU's Tusk warns president to appreciate allies

This week’s summit in Brussels could expose cracks in the Nato alliance

LONDON - Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday she was looking forward to positive talks with US President Donald Trump later this week, after he said that Britain was in turmoil and considered May critic Boris Johnson a friend.

As he departed the White House for a four-nation European tour, Mr Trump did little to reassure allies fretting over the risk of damage he could do to the 69-year-old trans-Atlantic mutual defence pact and his potential embrace of Mr Putin during a summit in Helsinki.

Trump left that meeting without signing the joint statement from the seven nations and antagonizing important USA allies, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, argued in a statement prior to Trump's visit that Europe spends more on defense than China and Russian Federation, and he urged Trump to "appreciate your allies".

"Dear America, appreciate your allies".

Trump's tweet on Tuesday echoed earlier posts on Twitter on Monday and his criticism at a rally of supporters in the United States last week, in which he said that Washington was unfairly carrying nearly all the cost of defending Europe.

"It's certainly going to be an interesting time with NATO", Trump told journalists.

The dynamics between Trump and heads of government with their own predilections could create some volatile chemistry at the two-day summit.

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While Mr Trump is looking to improve relations with Russian Federation, there has been alarm at the deteriorating climate with his allies in Europe and what he might agree to with President Putin.

When asked about the president's tweets, Hutchison said the US portion of NATO's common funding is capped at 22 percent, but that the USA contributes to other security costs in Europe, where it has military and diplomatic presence.

At a reception in June celebrating 100 years of American and European partnership in Brussels, Washington's top diplomat to the European Union, Adam Shub, sought to highlight common ground, even on issues such as trade and Iran.

"We do have a lot of allies, but we can not be taken advantage of".

Trump meets Putin on July 16. They say he ignored top-level talks between European Union envoys and US trade and State Department officials this year to avoid metal tariffs and keep Washington in the Iran deal.

Many US presidents have urged European governments to spend more on their militaries. "There has been this tension, which has been a long-running factor ... but I'm pretty positive on the relationship overall", the State Department official said.

According to a joint declaration prepared in advance of the summit, 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 2.0-percent target. In 2017, the U.S.is estimated to have spent more than 68% of the cumulative total.

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