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Trump: Berlin owes NATO ‘vast sums of money’

US President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

US President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump unleashed a diatribe against Germany on Saturday, saying Berlin owes the North Atlantic Treaty Organization “vast sums of money” and must pay the United States more for security.

His latest tweetstorm comes a day after he met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington, where the two leaders showed little common ground over a host of thorny issues, including NATO and defense spending.

“Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!” Trump tweeted on Saturday morning.

He prefaced his statement by lashing out at the news media. “Despite what you have heard from the FAKE NEWS,” he tweeted, “I had a GREAT meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.”

That appeared to be far from the case on Friday, when the veteran German leader arrived hoping to reverse a chill in relations after Trump had said during his campaign last year that her decision to allow refugees into Germany was a “catastrophic mistake” and suggested she was “ruining Germany.”

But during a joint news conference, Trump accused Germany of unfair trade practices and ripped into Washington’s NATO allies, demanding they pay back “vast sums of money from past years.”

Merkel said Germany had committed to increasing its military spending to two percent of Gross Domestic ProductP, a target NATO member states formally agreed in 2014 to reach within 10 years. (AFP)

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