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Iran Press TV

Trump says NATO to get 'stronger' as members step up payments

Iran Press TV

Sat May 27, 2017 1:3PM

US President Donald Trump has claimed that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will get "stronger" because member states have agreed to pour more funds into the military alliance.

The president took to Twitter on Saturday writing; "Many NATO countries have agreed to step up payments considerably, as they should. Money is beginning to pour in- NATO will be much stronger."

Trump is on the final day of his first international trip as president, meeting with Group of Seven (G7) and African nation leaders in the Italian region of Sicily.

The president, who was at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, harshly criticized member states for not paying their fair share for the common defense. "NATO would be even stronger than it is today, especially from the threat of terrorism."

He even mocked the military alliance for the roughly $1 billion cost of its new headquarters where he was delivering his speech.

"I never asked once what the new NATO headquarters cost. I refuse to do that," he said. "But it is beautiful."

The president has long been pushing member countries to spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on the alliance.

"This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States and many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years. And not paying in those past years," Trump said in Brussels.

Only five members, including the US, the United Kingdom, Greece, Poland and Estonia currently meet the two-percent minimum. The other members have committed to the goal by 2024.

NATO countries do not pay the US or the alliance directly.

Trump has previously called NATO "obsolete" and threatened that states that did not pay their share would not be defended.

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