Arizona Sen. Flake Meets With NATO Leaders Concerned About Trump's Rhetoric

Trump takes swipe at Nato just days before crucial summit

Flake said many key U.S. allies were concerned about Trump's rhetoric on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and that although he was "glad" Trump put pressure on member nations to meet their commitments to defense spending, his criticism of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance put member nations at unease.

In response to President Trump's criticism of Europe, the European Council President Donald Tusk said that he wants to address President Trump directly, "for a long time now has been criticizing Europe nearly daily for, in his view, insufficient contributions to the common defense capabilities and for living off the USA..."

Tusk urged: "Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all, you don't have all that many". "Today Europe spends on defense many times more than Russian Federation and as much as China". He will then fly to Helsinki, Finland, where he plans to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

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This week's two-day summit, beginning on Wednesday at Nato's new headquarters in the Belgian capital, is expected to be dominated by United States demands for increased spending by other members of the 29-nation alliance. "We pay far too much, and they pay far too little".

"Many countries owe us", added the President. The U.S.is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them.

In recent months Trump has repeatedly launched invective at America´s partners in the Atlantic alliance, a cornerstone of European security since World War II, accusing them of freeloading on the U.S. for defense.

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"Expect the President of the United States to say some things that are relatively conciliatory, and that people generally like here in the United States, even a lot of his critics", he told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo during an interview Tuesday morning.

Merkel said she raised issues of migration and economic development with Trump.

But Merkel nevertheless insisted Washington and Berlin remain allies, saying: "We are partners, we are good partners and wish to continue to cooperate in the future".

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On the Putin summit, Mr Tusk said pointedly: "It is always worth knowing who is your strategic friend and who is your strategic problem".

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