Leaders from countries in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) held an unplanned session on Thursday as US President Donald Trump ramped up his demand for member countries to increase their contribution to the alliance.
Trump reportedly singled out Germany, Spain and Belgium “to reach two percent spending target” within a short deadline, two sources told Reuters news agency.
The DPA news agency earlier reported that during the meeting, Trump threatened to pull the US out of NATO, but the report was denied by the two Reuters sources.
Following the meeting, Trump said that “tremendous progress has been made” with more countries increasing their commitment to NATO.
“People are paying money than they’ve never paid before,” Trump said, but failed to provide details on when allied countries would increase their commitment.
Al Jazeera’s diplomatic editor, James Bays, described the unplanned meeting on Thursday as “explosive”, adding that it disrupted a scheduled NATO discussion on Ukraine and Georgia.
“The NATO leaders weren’t really expecting this.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged that there was a disagreement during the meeting, but tried to play down its significance, our correspondent said.
Earlier on Thursday, the US president posted a series of messages on social media, hammering US allies during the second day of meetin