Speaking at a NATO summit, the alliance’s chief on Thursday said that Georgia will join its ranks.
At a joint press conference in Brussels alongside Georgian President Giorgi Margverlashvili, Jens Stoltenberg said that the allied leaders reaffirmed the move on Wednesday.
Praising the progress Georgia is making on reforms, Stoltenberg said that NATO will continue to work with its government to prepare the country for membership.
Earlier, during a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Stoltenberg said that the situation in eastern Ukraine remains "serious".
France will meet NATO defense spending goal by 2024
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday France would meet its NATO-agreed goal of spending 2 percent of GDP on defence by 2024, saying cohesion within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was only possible if the burden was shared "fairly".U.S. President Donald Trump has upbraided NATO member states for not reaching the target sooner. Aside from the United States, which spends about 3.5 percent of GDP on defence, only Britain, Poland, Greece and Estonia currently meet the target.Speaking at a news conference at the NATO summit, Macron said Trump had reaffirmed the United States' commitment to the defence organisation, despite earlier expressing doubts.France spends around 1.8 percent of GDP on defence.Trump claims victory after forcing NATO crisis talksTrump keeps up spending demands at NATO but turns on charm
Trump claims victory after forcing NATO crisis talks
U.S. President Donald Trump hailed a personal victory at a NATO summit on Thursday, saying allies had sharply increased defence spending commitments after he provoked a crisis session with a tirade at European leaders."I told people that I would be very unhappy if they didn't up their commitments," an ebullient president told reporters after the second day of the Brussels meeting, when NATO leaders huddled with Trump to try to defuse a crisis."I let them know that I was extremely unhappy," he said, but added that the talks had ended on the best of terms: "It all came together at the end. It was a little tough for a little while."Officials at the meeting said Trump had shocked many present and broke with diplomatic protocol by addressing German Chancellor Merkel by her first name, telling her: "Angela, you need to do something about this". Most officials and the invited leaders of non-NATO Afghanistan and Georgia were ushered out.Trump tirade sends NATO leaders into crisis sessionOthers 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.When asked about that, Trump said he believed he could do that without Congressional approval but it was "not necessary".Instead, he said, the other 28 allies had agreed to increase their defence spending more quickly to meet a NATO target of two percent of their national income within a few years. The current commitment is to reach two percent by 2024 but with get-out terms that would allow some to stretch it out to 2030.Trump stressed that NATO's budget had been unfair to the United States but now he was sure it would be fair. Allies would be increasing spending by $33 billion or more, he added.He also said he thought spending of 4 percent on defence -- similar to the U.S. level -- would be the right level.Trump keeps up spending demands at NATO but turns on charm"TOTAL CREDIT TO ME""We have a very powerful, very strong NATO, much stronger than it was two days ago," he said. Citing the alliance's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, he said: "Secretary Stoltenberg gives us total credit, meaning me, I guess, in this case, total credit. Because I said it was unfair.""The numbers have gone up like a rocket ship ... and they're going to be going up further," he said. "Everybody in that room got along and they agreed to pay more and they agreed to pay it more quickly."Merkel said: "We had a very intense summit."Trump had opened the first day of talks in Brussels on Wednesday with a public diatribe against Germany, the second biggest state in the Western defence alliance, criticising its reliance on Russian gas imports and failure to spend more on defence.After Trump's spending demands, NATO summit turns to AfghanistanThe mood had appeared to have calmed as the summit went into its second day, focusing on operations beyond Europe. But, several sources said, Trump instead reopened in strong terms his demand that other countries spend more immediately."The language was much tougher today," one source told Reuters. "His harshest words were directed at Germany, including by calling her Angela --'You, Angela.'"As well as Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, were singled out by Trump for undershooting on their spending targets when U.S. taxpayers, funding a defence budget worth about 3.6 percent of their national income, foot much of NATO's bills.Video: Trump says 'no more nuclear weapons' would be ultimate goal of Putin meetingTrump says 'ultimate deal' with Putin would be world without nuclear weaponsPresident Donald Trump on Thursday said the best agreement he could have with Russian President Vladimir Putin would be one where there would be no nuclear weapons in the world.Asked what would be the best possible result from his meeting with Putin, Trump said: "What would be the ultimate? Let's see. No more nuclear weapons anywhere in the world, no more wars, no more problems, no more conflicts. ... That would be my ultimate."Trump is due to meet with Putin on Monday in Helsinki.US says disrupts Iran finance operation in UAE to squeeze TehranIran treating U.S. with more respectU.S. President Donald Trump said he expected Iran to call him one day with an offer to allay U.S. security concerns, saying Tehran was treating Washington with much more respect after he pulled the U.S. out of a nuclear deal."They're treating us with much more respect right now than they did in the past," Trump told reporters after a summit of NATO leaders in Brussels."I know they're having a lot of problems and their economy is collapsing. But I will tell you this: at a certain point they're going to call me they're going to say 'Let's make a deal'. They're feeling a lot of pain right now." EU Commission cuts euro zone growth forecasts, blames trade warsU.S. will hit EU cars if no good faith in trade talks U.S. President Donald Trump warned the European Union on Thursday that the United States would act to restrict entry for European cars if the bloc failed to treat his country fairly on trade.Trump, who is set to host European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Washington this month, repeated his line that the EU was treating the United States unfairly on trade, shutting out U.S. farmers."That'll change also and I think we'll see that because on the 25th of July they're coming in to start negotiations with me. We'll see," he told a news conference at the end of a meeting of NATO leaders."And if they don't negotiate in good faith we'll do something having to do with all the millions of cars that are coming into our country and being taxed at a virtually zero level, at a very low level... I think it's been a very effective way of negotiating, but I'm not negotiating, I just want fairness for the United States," he said.
"NATO is firm in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. And we strongly condemn Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea," he added.
Russia’s 2014 illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region led Western powers, including the U.S., to impose sanctions on Moscow.
Along with the UN General Assembly, the U.S., the EU, and Turkey also do not recognize Crimea as Russian territory.
Since the annexation, Ukraine has been wracked by conflict in its eastern regions with Russian-backed separatists, leading to more than 10,000 deaths, according to the UN.
Trump tirade sends NATO leaders into crisis session
U.S. President Donald Trump launched a fresh attack on NATO allies' failure to raise defence spending on Thursday, prompting leaders to huddle in a special session excluding other summit participants, sources told Reuters.At one point, in a break with diplomatic protocol, a source said Trump addressed German Chancellor Merkel by her first name and told her: "Angela, you need to do something about this."As Trump amps up trade war, China plays nice with foreign investorsInvited leaders from non-NATO countries Afghanistan and Georgia were asked to leave along with most NATO leaders' retinues of officials, as the heads of state and government of the Western alliance sought to deal with the man whose nation commands much of the budget and forces for Europe's defence.Trump had opened the first day of talks in Brussels on Wednesday with a public diatribe against Germany, the second biggest state in the Western defence alliance, before the mood appeared to have calmed as the summit went into its second day, focusing on operations beyond Europe.But, several sources said, Trump instead reopened in strong terms his demand that other countries greatly speed up their progress toward a NATO target of spending at least two percent of their GDP on defence, which now has a deadline of 2024 with get-out terms available that can stretch it to 2030.After Trump's spending demands, NATO summit turns to Afghanistan"The language was much tougher today," one source told Reuters. "His harshest words were directed at Germany, including by calling her Angela --'You, Angela.'"As well as Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Charles Michel, the prime minister of Belgium, were also singled out by Trump for undershooting on their spending targets when U.S. taxpayers, funding a defence budget worth about 3.6 percent of their national income, foot much of NATO's bills.Breaking from a carefully scripted session that was to focus on Ukraine and Georgia, one source said Trump "forcibly restated his position on wanting NATO members to reach 2 percent spending target to a short a deadline".Trump keeps up spending demands at NATO but turns on charmTwo NATO sources said, however, that Trump had not issued a threat to pull the United States out of the alliance that it helped found to keep the peace in Europe after World War Two.TWITTER DEMANDLeaders had gone into the second day, set to focus mainly on ending the long war in Afghanistan, with low expectations, showing the extent of European frustration with Trump's "America first" policies among the other 28 members of the alliance.Trump took to Twitter to say publicly what he told NATO leaders privately on Wednesday, calling on all allies to meet a commitment agreed in 2014 to spend 2 percent of economic output on defence to counter threats ranging from Russia's military modernisation to militant attacks on European cities.He also renewed a demand that they even double that -- though many question what they could usefully spend it on.US experts raise concern over FETÖ threat in America"All NATO Nations must meet their 2% commitment, and that must ultimately go to 4%!" Trump tweeted an hour before the second day of the summit got under way.Despite the first day's haranguing of allies for failing to meet spending targets and accusing Germany of being a prisoner to Russian energy, Trump was mild-mannered at a private dinner on Wednesday and avoided any outbursts that many NATO diplomats had feared."He was in a good mood, he said Europe was a continent he appreciated," Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel told reporters."We didn't know what to expect, it was a positive outcome," he said of the dinner in a Brussels park, where leaders were treated to an acrobatic display and saxophone music.French President Emmanuel Macron said the summit atmosphere was "much calmer than everyone had said" and he saw a will to maintain the unity of the alliance, while Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said Trump was "constructive".
A two-day NATO summit started on Wednesday with the attendance of 29 NATO heads of state and government to make important decisions on the future of the alliance.
The summit is discussing important decisions on the alliance’s future and other major topics, including strengthening deterrence and defense, counter-terrorism and stability, strengthening cooperation with the EU, modernization, sharing responsibility and common values, and the transatlantic union.