Trump hits back at Macron's 'very nasty' description of NATO

| 04.12,19. 01:51 AM |

Trump hits back at Macron's 'very nasty' description of NATO

Donald Trump has hit back at Emmanuel Macron over his comments about NATO's "brain death", saying the French President's comments were "very insulting".

Mr Macron told The Economist Magazine last month that Washington's antipathy to the military alliance should prompt the European Union (EU) to step up as a world power.

"What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO," Mr Macron said.

The US President was responding in London, having arrived for a summit about the 70-year-old military alliance.

"When you make a statement like that, that is a very, very nasty statement to essentially 28, including them, 28 countries," Mr Trump said.

"Nobody needs NATO more than France."

The President also commented on Prince Andrew's decision to step back from public life, saying while he did not know the Prince, it was a "very tough story".

Prince Andrew withdrew from royal duties after he gave an interview last month over his friendship with the disgraced late US financier, Jeffrey Epstein.

Trump set to demand defence spend

Ahead of the NATO meeting marking the organisation's 70th birthday, tensions between several leaders have emerged.

For the third summit in a row, Mr Trump is expected to renew demands that European allies and Canada increase defence spending.

Meanwhile, Mr Macron says NATO needs "a wake-up call", insisting that strategic issues, such as handling an unpredictable ally like Turkey, must be addressed.

In turn, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed out at Mr Macron, with their very public argument bodes raising tensions ahead of the summit hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is deep into an electoral campaign.

Turkey has raised the ire of its allies by invading northern Syria, and for buying Russian air defence systems with powerful computers aboard that suck up data and would compromise the military equipment of allies if they were stationed nearby.

Before heading to London, Mr Erdogan suggested Turkey might not back Poland and NATO's Baltic allies — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — should they require defending unless the allies support Turkish concerns about Syrian Kurdish fighters, which Turkey sees as terrorists.

That threat raises new questions about NATO's commitment to its collective defence clause, Article 5, under which all allies vow to come to the aid of a member under attack.

The clause has only ever been activated once, after the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

The two-day summit kicks off with receptions at Buckingham Palace and Downing Street. A short working session will be held at a golf resort in outer London on Wednesday.

Mr Trump is due to hold separate talks with Mr Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte on the sidelines of the summit.

Mr Trump said on Tuesday Russia wanted to agree deals on arms control, and he was willing to bring China into those either now or later.

"I have to say this, Russia wants to make a deal on arms control ... Russia wants to make a deal as recently as, like, two weeks ago. Russia wants very much to make a deal on arms control and nuclear," he said.

"We'll also certainly bring in … China. We may bring them in later, or we may bring them in now."

Mr Johnson is also set to host talks on Syria with Mr Macron, Mrs Merkel and Mr Erdogan later on Tuesday.


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