Brussels, July 12 (IANS) Leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Thursday plan to move beyond US President Donald Trump’s demands for higher defence spending and focus on the conflict in Afghanistan on the second day of the meet here underscored by transatlantic tensions.
Trump on Wednesday urged his NATO allies to commit four per cent of their annual output (GDP) to military spending and singled out Germany for its “lagging defence spending”.
NATO leaders are hoping for a more conciliatory tone before Trump leaves for the UK on a two-day working visit, the BBC reported.
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani will be present for the second day of talks and NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg hopes the bloc will agree to fund Afghan security forces until 2024.
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May has already confirmed that the UK will send 440 more troops to serve in non-combat roles in Afghanistan.
The US also committed an extra 3,000 troops to support Afghan forces in September 2017 – bringing its total to 15,000.
In early morning tweets from Brussels, Trump resumed his criticism of his allies. “The US pays tens of billions of dollars too much to subsidize Europe and loses Big on Trade!” he said.
In the UK, Trump will spend time with the Queen and the Prime Minister before flying to Scotland to spend the weekend at his golf resort. Thousands of people are expected to protest against his visit across the UK.
On July 16, he will meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Finland’s capital Helsinki.