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Nato conference opens with Trump - Macron feud

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump hit back at French President Emmanuel Macron today over the latter’s criticism of Nato under US leadership.

Mr Trump also criticised other members of the military alliance for being too slow to pump funds into their military budgets.

As state leaders of the 29-member alliance gathered in London for a summit marking Nato’s 70th year, Mr Trump told reporters Mr Macron’s comments were “very nasty” when he lamented the “brain death” of the organisation.

Mr Trump also said: “Sometimes he’ll say things that he shouldn’t say. Sometimes I think he does things that are counterproductive for his own country.”

During campaigning for the last election, the US President described Nato as “obsolete.”

He has since vacillated wildly on the subject in public pronouncements and military decisions.

Last month in an interview with The Economist Mr Macron had urged Nato to “wake up,” warning that member states were failing to co-operate on key issues and calling into question the future of the alliance.

The comments were made partly to reflect his frustration at Nato member Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria in October without coordination with any Nato partner apart from the US President.

Mr Macron has said he believes the invasion has undermined the fight against Islamic State, but Mr Trump appeared to side with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by saying Turkey “couldn’t be nicer, more supportive, very helpful.”

Defending his decision to pull US troops out of the region and to approve the Turkish invasion, Mr Trump said: “I wanted to get our soldiers out of there, but I wanted to keep the oil.”

Relations between France and the US are particularly strained this week after the US Trade Representative proposed introducing tariffs on $2.4 billion (£1.85bn) of goods such as cheese and champagne in retaliation for a French tax on global tech giants including Google, Amazon and Facebook.

The summit comes amid a series of spats between leaders of member states which indicates a lack of unity that could undermine the warlike alliance’s coherence.


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