BRUSSELS -- U.S. President Trump has reportedly renewed his sharp criticism of NATO allies at the alliance’s Brussels summit on July 12 -- leading to a previously unscheduled, allies-only meeting.
Reuters quotes two unnamed sources who said that Trump launched a fresh attack against NATO allies about their defense spending and European trade practices during a closed-door session that was meant to focus on security in the Black Sea region.
They said that following Trump’s criticism, NATO leaders asked the presidents of non-member NATO partner states Ukraine and Georgia to leave the room so they could conduct allies-only talks.
Earlier on July 12, Trump had tweeted during a summit session that NATO countries "Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025."
Trump on July 12 also tweeted: “The U.S. pays tens of Billions of Dollars too much to subsidize Europe, and loses Big on Trade!”
Trump has previously call on other NATO states to meet a commitment made in 2014 to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense by the end of 2024.
He stunned his European counterparts on July 11 by calling on them to double their commitments on military spending to 4 percent of GDP.
According to NATO statistics, that's a bigger share than the United States currently pays.
Trump's latest outburst may come as a blow to NATO leaders who had been hoping for a less confrontational tone on the final day of their summit in Brussels, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump accused Germany of being "captive" to Russia for energy and demanded that alliance members double their commitments on defense spending.
Key sessions on July 12 had been planned to focus on the war in Afghanistan, as well as security in the Black Sea region following increasingly aggressive actions by Russia -- including the war in eastern Ukraine between the Kyiv government's forces and Russia-backed separatists.
The leaders of two so-called NATO partner states in the Black Sea region, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili, had been invited to attend those sessions.