Trump pleased by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies' defense spending

“Your leadership on defense spending has really helped to make a difference

President Trump is meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House Thursday, amid tense times for worldwide relations.

Trump specifically mentioned Germany, urging it to demonstrate leadership in the alliance by "addressing its longstanding shortfall in defense contributions".

The Secretary General and President Trump were joined in their talks by members of the US national security team, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State James Mattis, General (ret) John Kelly, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff and Ambassador John Bolton, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. He also complained that Germany buys "massive amounts of gas from Russian Federation and paying billions and billions of dollars". The issue of military investment, or lack of it among NATO's European members, has dominated Trump's agenda with allies.

Earlier this week, officials in Berlin said they anticipated defense spending to be roughly 1.5 percent of GDP by 2025.

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly called for other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries to begin paying more out of their respective budgets to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, since the US contributed far more than other member countries. Stoltenberg stopped short of giving Trump all of the credit.

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"You have helped to do that", Stoltenberg said.

Listing the countries which have "paid the number that they're supposed to be paying", Trump said that there were some who have not yet paid the amount expected of them.

Eight NATO allies will reach the 2 percent benchmark by the end of this year, and 15 are on track to spend 2 percent by 2024, according to a statement released by the White House on Thursday.

Sitting at the President's right hand, Secretary Stoltenberg said: "Your leadership on defense spending has really helped to make a difference".

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