Squabbles Overshadow NATO 70th Anniversary Summit

Squabbles overshadow NATO 70th anniversary summit

Watford, United Kingdom, Dec 3 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 3rd Dec, 2019 ) :NATO leaders gather Tuesday for a summit to mark the alliance's 70th anniversary but with leaders feuding and name-calling over money and strategy, the mood is far from festive.

The 29 allies will descend on London ready to lock horns over spending and how to deal with Russia in a major test of unity as NATO seeks to assert its relevance.

US President Donald Trump arrived in London keen to see evidence of European countries boosting their military spending, after repeatedly lambasting them for what he considers freeloading on America for their defence.

NATO officials hope a managed series of spending announcements by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg last week will appease Trump, who turned the 2018 summit on its head with furious rants at European partners.

Stoltenberg pointed out on Friday that by next year, non-US allies will have increased their defence spending by $130 billion since 2016.

En route, Trump boasted that he had convinced European allies to boost their defence spending, tweeting: "Since I took office, the number of NATO allies fulfilling their obligations more than DOUBLED." There was also much fanfare around a billion-dollar contract signed last week with US planemaker Boeing to upgrade the organisation's AWACS reconnaissance planes.

NATO members have also agreed to lower the cap on US contributions to the alliance's relatively small $2.5 billion operating budget, meaning Germany and other European countries -- but not France -- will pay more.

Trump will have the chance to discuss the measures with Stoltenberg when they meet for breakfast on Tuesday, before he talks with French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of an evening reception at Buckingham Palace.

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