Trump in Brussels for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation talks amid protest

Nick Mcbride
May 25, 2017

But as Russian Federation continues to maintain its aggressive posture in Eastern Europe, many North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members are also waiting for Trump to reaffirm USA commitment to the lynchpin of the alliance: Article 5.

President Trump is hardly the first US President to call on the European allies to do more - in one form or another, every President since Harry Truman has done so.

It's fair to say that the U-turn in Trump's view on NATO's role has somehow created a jammy atmosphere for the upcoming summit, which, apparently under the USA pressure, puts "fairer burden-sharing" high on the agenda.

Trump's entourage however warned that the billionaire president will once again press the 28-nation alliance to pay their full share of the alliance's financial burden. "I think this proposal would put some meat on the bones - it would be a concrete step forward in counter-terrorism".

A new strain emerged on the relationship between the US and a key European ally: a British official said Thursday that police in Manchester will stop sharing information about their bombing investigation with the USA until they get a guarantee that there will be no more leaks to the news media.

For NATO, facing "a president less engaged and less friendly to NATO than his predecessors, the emphasis is on getting the first impression right", said Tomas Valasek, who recently was Slovakia's ambassador to NATO and now directs Carnegie Europe, a Brussels-based research institution.

Protesters gathered in Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday to protest President Trump's arrival in the city.

Further protests were expected Thursday and security was tight across the city with helicopters flying overhead and key roads shut down.

Trump is also meeting with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini.

Trump, who voiced scepticism while campaigning about the EU's value and hailed Britain's Brexit vote to quit the bloc, will hear a call from European leaders for him to maintain Washington's longstanding support for integration on the continent, as well to support free trade and efforts to combat climate change. "But when you see something like what happened a few days ago you realise how important it is to win this fight".

A lot of them carry the Belgian flag and "We fight against Donald Trump and his billionaire's friends" banners, "Stay away from our gully" or "Mr. Trump, you are not welcome here".

Palestinians protested on Monday and Tuesday as they clashed with Israeli forces resulting in a dozen people being injured by rubber bullets and reported live fire.

Each is a chance to speak with the US president ahead of trade renegotiations, after Trump triggered a 90-day notice period this month. Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, in late January branded Trump's "worrying declarations" as an external threat which makes "our future highly unpredictable".

The Secretary General stressed that Thursday's meeting will demonstrate NATO's ability to change as the world changes.

Currently NATO has a very small training mission ongoing in Iraq, described by one source as a "handful", but nothing in Libya or Syria. "We don't want Trump!" were not as kind towards the visiting president.

Trump's sweep through Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican, centres of three of the world's main religions, is being followed by Brussels and a trip to Italy for the G7 leaders summit on Friday.

Other reports by VgToday

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