Trump presses Merkel on NATO commitment

US President Donald Trump meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as Washington continues to urge fellow NATO members in Europe to meet the bloc's target on military spending.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during their joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, US, March 17, 2017.

President Donald Trump reiterated his strong support for NATO on Friday and pressed German Chancellor Angela Merkel to meet NATO's military spending target.

Trump’s comments came in the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since he assumed office as US president in January.

The meeting between Merkel and Trump was billed as one that could help determine the future of the transatlantic alliance and shape their working relationship.

"I reiterated to Chancellor Merkel my strong support for NATO as well as the need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share for the cost of defense," Trump said at a joint news conference with Merkel.

Merkel said she told Trump that Germany needs to meet NATO spending goals. The two also discussed Ukraine and Afghanistan.

TRT World spoke to Harry Horton about the most interesting moments of the joint press conference.

Trade relations

Trump said he expected the United States to do "fantastically well" in trade with Germany, while Merkel said she hoped the United States and the European Union could resume discussions on a trade agreement. Trump said he did not believe in isolationism but that trade policy should be fairer.

"We held a conversation where we were trying to address also those areas where we disagree, but we tried to bring people together ... (and) tried to find a compromise that is good for both sides," Merkel said.

Earlier, Trump greeted Merkel at the White House with a handshake before they began talks in the Oval Office. Both leaders described their meeting in brief remarks to reporters as having been very good.

The meeting is consequential for both sides.

As a presidential candidate, Trump criticized Merkel for allowing hundreds of thousands of refugees into Germany. At the news conference, Merkel hinted at differences, saying: "This is obviously something we had an exchange of views about."

TRTWorld, Reuters