Trump NATO pressure paying dividends in Europe, US envoy says

German, NATO officials wary of Trump-Putin summit - media

European leaders are reportedly nervous that President Donald Trump will make good on his campaign promise to withdraw US troops from the continent if host countries fail to pay their fair share for defense. "That's the reason why we will continue to have talks in the NATO-Russia Council".

The ultimate goal of all the anti-NATO activities planned for the weekend is to emphasize that "NATO was never a peace-defending organization", he said, adding that the threat the bloc poses to global peace and security has only increased over time due to its rampant military build-up - first and foremost on Russia's doorstep. "I welcome the fact that Germany is significantly increasing its defence spending". The allies committed to devote 2 percent of GDP to defense by 2024, and the number of member states on track to achieve that has grown from five to 16 since a year ago, according to the State Department.

"We need to stick with our European allies, those in the EU, to challenge China", he said. "And I think it is very clear, and he's been very direct, about the Europeans needing to do more for their own security". "And you need to make sure that we're willing, on our side, to hold Russian Federation responsible for the many activities that they are responsible for, whether that is election meddling; malign activities throughout Europe, including the Balkans, U.K. and Brexit, France, and Italy, just to mention a few; and to hold them responsible for" the destabilizing use of social media.

"I'm glad that the President is talking to Vladimir Putin".

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Now only three European countries hit the two percent target, and while alliance officials are hopeful that four more will join the list by the July 11-12 summit, it is unlikely to satisfy Trump.

Beyer said Trump's recent summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore had fuelled concerns that Trump would let Putin "put one over on him", in Helsinki. With 29 member-states, the US-led military alliance in Europe tends to treat summits as periodic reaffirmations of collective marriage vows, carefully scripted events at which every single detail is predetermined, and all that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders need to do is fly in, smile throughout, and then take up their pre-arranged places for the "family photograph" that concludes the proceedings.

"I'll talk to [Putin] about everything", Trump said last week.

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