WATFORD, England (AP) – The Latest on the NATO summit near London (all times local):
President Donald Trump has hosted a lunch for what he calls the â€œ2%-ers.” Itâ€™s a way of honoring the nine countries in the 29-member NATO alliance that spend at least 2% of their gross domestic product on defense.
“Lunch is on me,” Trump said as he sat down with representatives of the United States, Britain, Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania and Romania.
Trump has been pushing NATO members to increase their defense spending ever since he took office.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg praised Trump for highlighting the issue and said European allies and Canada will add $130 billion to their defense budgets by the end of 2020.
President Donald Trump says he has canceled a news conference meant for the end of the NATO summit and will return to Washington early.
Trump says he will meet with a couple more leaders first on the sidelines of the summit near London. He cites his extensive comments to journalists Tuesday and Wednesday.
Had Trump gone ahead with the news conference, he likely would have faced questions while the House Judiciary Committee holds its first hearing in Washington into the impeachment inquiry against him.
House Democrats are investigating whether Trump abused his power as president by urging a foreign leader to open an investigation into one of Trumpâ€™s political rivals.
Britainâ€™s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pleaded ignorance when questioned about footage of a group of NATO leaders apparently gossiping about U.S. President Donald Trumpâ€™s behavior.
When asked whether the leaders were discussing Trump in the footage taken at Buckingham Palace, Johnson told reporters on Wednesday that â€œI really donâ€™t know what is being referred to there.â€
The footage recorded during a reception Tuesday evening showed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau standing with Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Britainâ€™s Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth II.
Trump has called Trudeau â€œtwo-facedâ€ after he was overheard appearing to gossip about the U.S. leader.
NATO leaders say theyâ€™ve agreed to set up a committee of experts to analyze political decision-making after French President Emmanuel Macron lamented the â€œbrain deathâ€ of the military alliance.
After a summit near London, the leaders agreed in a communique Wednesday to â€œa forwarding-looking reflection processâ€ to be led by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Germany and France suggested ways to address the issue after Macron complained about President Donald Trumpâ€™s decision to pull troops out of northern Syria. Turkey saw the move as an opening to invade. Neither country consulted its NATO allies.
Whatever friction exists between President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel wasn’t on display as they expressed optimism about trade talks between the U.S. and European Union.
Merkel says there is a good basis for resuming trade talks because a new team of EU leaders has taken office.
Trump says the trade deal with the EU is one of the more “difficult deals” for the U.S., but that meetings have been set up and he believes something will be worked out for everyone. Trump says the U.S. just wants “fairness.”
But Trump continued to needle Germany for not increasing its defense spending to 2% of gross domestic product, a 2024 goal for NATO members. Merkel says Germany’s defense spending will rise to 1.4% next year and hit 2% in the early 2030s.
President Donald Trump is calling Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau â€œtwo-facedâ€ after he was overheard appearing to gossip about Trump.
Trump tells reporters he believes Trudeau was upset that he broached the fact that Canada falls short of the NATO target of spending 2% of its GDP on defense.
In footage recorded during a reception in London at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday night, Trudeau was seen standing with French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Britainâ€™s Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth II.
Trudeau could be heard making what appeared to be a reference to Trumpâ€™s long and unscheduled question-and-answer session with journalists.
NATO members have reaffirmed their commitment to collective defense at a summit seeking to smooth over cracks in the trans-Atlantic military alliance.
After meeting near London, leaders of the 29 nations affirmed in a declaration that â€œour solemn commitment as enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty that an attack against one Ally shall be considered an attack against us all.â€
NATO member Turkey had threatened not to endorse a plan to bolster the defense of the Baltic states neighboring Russia and Poland after other NATO members criticized Ankaraâ€™s military operation in Syria.
But NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that â€œwe stand together, all for one and one for all. Our commitment to article 5, the collective defense clause of our alliance, is ironclad.â€
U.S. President Donald Trump has met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the NATO summit.
The meeting comes as European leaders, led by French President Emmanuel Macron, are pushing the alliance to get tougher on Turkey after its October invasion of Syria and its purchase of Russian surface-to-air missiles.
Trump has resisted some of those efforts to pressure Erdogan – a point of tension exposed in a feisty meeting Tuesday with the French leader.
Trump hosted Erdogan at the White House last month, despite bipartisan calls that he cancel it in the wake of Turkeyâ€™s assault on Kurdish forces in Syria that were allies with the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State group.
The White House confirmed the meeting after Erdoganâ€™s office posted a photo of the two leaders on social media. The White House said they discussed “the importance of Turkey fulfilling its alliance commitments” as well as security and economic issues.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that Russia will not get involved in an arms race with NATO, even if the alliance increases its military spending.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that European allies and Canada have added $130 billion to their defense spending since 2016.
Peskov said Wednesday that NATOâ€™s increased military spending â€œreinforcesâ€ the Kremlinâ€™s concerns.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that NATOâ€™s expansion and beefing up of its military infrastructure near Russiaâ€™s borders threatens the nationâ€™s security.
Peskov said, however, that Russia will not get involved â€œin an arms race or in a spending raceâ€ with NATO as it would be detrimental to the countryâ€™s economy.
â€œPutin repeatedly pointed out that we are operating in a different way,â€ he said.
French President Emmanuel Macron is refusing to apologize for saying that NATO is suffering â€œbrain deathâ€ and says his remarks could help jumpstart talks at the alliance about important strategic issues.
Arriving Wednesday at a NATO summit near London, Macron said his interview with the Economist magazine, which alarmed some allies, has â€œallowed us to raise fundamental debates.â€
Chief among them, Macron says, is â€œhow to build sustainable peace in Europe.â€
He says NATO â€œdebates should be about other things than budgets and finances.â€
Macron says leadersâ€™ â€œresponsibility is to highlight ambiguities that could be damaging and to launch a real strategic debate.â€
In the interview last month, Macron said NATO was suffering due to a lack of U.S. leadership and through ally Turkeyâ€™s invasion of northern Syria. U.S. President Donald Trump described the remarks as â€œvery, very nasty.â€
NATO leaders on Wednesday played down their differences and insisted that they remain united over security issues and determined to defend each other despite a series of spats between the presidents of some of the allianceâ€™s biggest member countries.
Ahead of a summit near London, French President Emmanuel Macron had lamented the â€œbrain deathâ€ of NATO due in part to what he called a lack of U.S. leadership. President Donald Trump branded his remarks as â€œvery disrespectful.â€ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested that Macron himself is â€œbrain dead.â€
The infighting is mostly due to Turkeyâ€™s invasion of northern Syria. Macron has complained that Trump pulled U.S. troops out of the region without warning his NATO allies. Turkey saw the move as a greenlight to send its troops in.
â€œNATO is agile, NATO is active, NATO is adapting,â€ NATO-Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said when asked by reporters whether the worldâ€™s biggest security alliance is brain dead.
â€œAs long as we are able to deliver substance… then NATO proves once again that we are able to respond to a shifting security landscape, and thatâ€™s the best way to also provide unity of this alliance,â€ he said before chairing the summit at a luxury hotel and golf resort on the outskirts of London.