Terrorism 'Number One' Issue Ahead of NATO Meeting

Nick Mcbride
May 25, 2017

There were no doubt sighs of relief among allies Wednesday when U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, travelling to Brussels with Trump, said that his country would, "of course", support Article 5.

The European Union said it doesn't share a common position with U.S. President Donald Trump on Russian Federation, while differences remain in key policy areas, including climate change and trade, adding to signs of strain in the world's closest political and economic alliance.

The building is not completely ready, but on Thursday it will nonetheless greet U.S. President Donald Trump for an ad hoc meeting where everyone hopes to hear where exactly the leader of NATO's most powerful presence stands on the alliance's very existence. He will meet Thursday with several European Union leaders, including France's newly elected president — Emmanuel Macron, who has been critical of Trump — over lunch.

The visit to Brussels will be the fourth stop on Trump's nine-day worldwide trip, the first such trip of his presidency. U.S. President Donald Trump meets with French President Emmanuel Macron at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Brussels, Thursday, May 25, 2017.

Adding that "w$3 e are in a bad situation", the president claimed terrorism was the No. 1 priority on the list of issues he'd like to discuss with the Belgian prime minister.

As he has hopscotched from Saudi Arabia to Israel, Italy, and now Belgium, the president seems to be emboldened by the warm welcome he's received and encouragement for an active US role in achieving stability at the global level.

Trump's first foreign tour, which has so far taken him to Riyadh, Jerusalem and Rome and will end this weekend at a G7 summit in Sicily, has been presented by aides as reassuring allies that Washington remains a reliable partner under a head of state who faces a series of ethics questions back home.

BRUSSELS (AP) — Visiting a city he once called a "hellhole" to meet with the leaders of an alliance he threatened to abandon, President Donald Trump will be in the heart of Europe on Thursday to address a continent still reeling from his election and anxious about his support.

But considering that numerous European allies have a history of falling short of their promises-few made good on their Cold War commitment to commit 3 percent of their GDP to their defense budgets-no one should expect any great upsurge in enthusiasm for defense spending.

Trump's entourage warned that the billionaire president would push allies heavily on meeting their commitment to spend 2.0 percent of GDP on defence, agreed in 2014.

Recent terror attacks in Europe mean the USA leader may get the support he needs to strengthen the alliance's anti-terrorist efforts.

Both France and Germany have been reluctant to expand NATO's remit, seeing it not as a "first responder", but preferring instead to increase security efforts within the EU.

Gohlert wanted to send more than a message to all those leaders in attendance - she sent them each one of the pink knitted hats that have come to represent an anti-Trump, pro-women sentiment.

While this has been triggered only once, by the U.S. after 9/11, Trump has said that any future use might depend on whether a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member had met its spending commitments.

"Trump said good things during the campaign".

However, EU officials believe Trump has come to appreciate more since taking office the value of European integration to US interests.

The move, which is expected during Thursday's meeting, is symbolically important, especially since the terror group claimed responsibility Tuesday for a deadly explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

Trump's wife Melania, meanwhile, is set to visit a museum dedicated to the surrealist artist Rene Magritte and a leading leather store while in Brussels.

Trump's speeches often remain in flux until the last minute, and he is well known for deviating from his prepared text by adding, removing or changing passages even as he reads them on the prompter.

Other reports by VgToday

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