Trump says North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members have agreed to spending increases

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Stoltenberg, who has seemed eager to heap praise on President Trump for increases in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation funding in public settings, again said that "his strong message is having a clear impact, allies are increasing defense spending". Then, in a head-snapping pivot at the end, on Thursday he declared the alliance a "fine-tuned machine" that had acceded to his demands to speed up increases in military spending.

Others in the room, including the Lithuanian president whose country is among the most nervous of Russian ambitions, denied a suggestion that Trump had threatened to quit the alliance.

If the White House is as confused about the nature of the threat we face from Mr. Putin as it seems to be, a meeting between our president and his Russian counterpart for which there is no record could not be more concerning.

Trump claimed member nations had agreed to significantly boost their defence budgets and reaffirmed - after days of griping that the USA was being taken advantage of by its allies - that the US remains faithful to the accord.

"Because of me they've raised about $40 billion over the a year ago".

In 2017, the alliance saw its biggest increase in defense spending "in a generation", he said, signaling to his aggrieved ally in the White House that "we see that all Allies have started to increase defense spending based on the national plans we have agreed to develop a year ago".

Trump reportedly singled out Germany, Spain and Belgium "to reach two percent spending target" within a short deadline, two sources told Reuters news agency. Although Trump administration officials point to the longstanding alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom, Trump's itinerary in England will largely keep him out of central London, the centre of the protests.

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The two leaders complimented each other and praised their partnership after they met on the sidelines of the Brussels summit, where they said they discussed migration, trade and military spending. "Failure to do so would be a serious indictment of his stewardship of American leadership in the world".

Sen. John McCain issued a stern warning Thursday to President Trump in advance of his summit with Vladimir Putin, saying that it would be "a serious indictment" of Trump's leadership if he does not hold the Russian leader accountable on a range of actions. "It is vital that even the most private meetings between leaders not be lost to history", Flake said. "I'm very strong on immigration".

"They've made tremendous success and congratulate you", Trump said as he sat across from Merkel.

Stoltenberg said: "We had a very frank and open discussion". "It confirms the goal of 2 percent by 2024".

"But Germany is totally controlled by Russia", Trump added.

Still, Trump has been more conciliatory behind the scenes, including at a leaders' dinner Wednesday.

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