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Trump's message was that defense spending must be raised faster - Estonian PM
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    Trump's message was that defense spending must be raised faster - Estonian PM

    BRUSSELS, July 12 (LETA--BNS) - Speaking before Estonian journalists at the NATO summit in Brussels, Prime Minister Juri Ratas said that the message of U.S. President Donald Trump in the discussions on Thursday was that defense expenditures must be raised faster than has been the case so far.

    "During the discussion on the partnership for Ukraine-Georgia also the topic of defense spending came up again. There was a new working meeting later. Trump's message was that defense spending must be raised faster and it cannot be that we will reach the goal in 11-12 years," Ratas said.

    He said that the emergency meeting of leaders called by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before noon on Thursday ended with an agreement in principle of all the parties that defense spending needs to be raised faster.

    According to the Estonian prime minister, the defense expenditures of NATO's European allies and Canada have risen by 33 billion U.S. dollars during the Trump presidency that started in January 2017.

    Answering a question from BNS about the truthfulness of the reports published in international media and citing NATO officials, according to which Trump threatened to pull the United States out of NATO if the allies fail to increase defense spending rapidly enough, Ratas said that he was present at those meetings and the way he got it was that the Trump message was that the U.S. continues to be a strong ally.

    "The U.S. continues to be committed to NATO. Of course he raised the topic of defense spending on repeated occasions during these days," the Estonian head of government said. "He underscored on multiple occasions the topic of four percent. He emphasized that in the future the level of agreement should be higher still. Today the topic of 2 percent is on the table more topically." 

    The Estonian minister of defense, Juri Luik, said that Trump was asked the same question at the press conference and it was clear that this [pulling the U.S. out] was not his attitude towards NATO.

    Foreign Minister Sven Mikser added that allegations to the effect that Trump threatened to "do his own thing" if allies fail to take their commitments seriously enough can in no way be interpreted in so dramatic a key.

    "President Trump repeatedly said at the press conference that NATO is stronger than it was two days ago, which extremely strongly expresses the U.S. attitude," Mikser said.

    • Published: 12.07.2018 18:53
    • LETA, BNS
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