US 'unfairly' forced to bear NATO financial burden: White House


The US has been -'unfairly-' forced to bear the financial burden of NATO, the White House has said, ahead of President Donald Trump-'s Europe visit...

The US has been "unfairly" forced to bear the financial burden of NATO, the White House has said, ahead of President Donald Trump's Europe visit next week which includes attending a summit of the 29-member bloc in Brussels.

The remarks by the White House on Thursday came amid reports that during the NATO Summit, Trump would be asking its member countries and leaders to increase their spendings on defence.

"As you guys know, he (Trump) has shown some frustration there on the financial burden that the United States unfairly is forced to bear, and he wants changes," White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters travelling with the President aboard Air Force One.

"That is something he's been very clear about," he added. Before returning home, Trump would also hold his maiden summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland on July 16.

The White House on Tuesday insisted that it is important to have better relationship with Russia.

"We think it's important to have a good relationship with Russia because the President feels as though there are times when you need to work with Russia in very shared areas of interest like preventing terrorism," Gidley said.

"But, as you know, he's also been the toughest on Russia of any other President. And when it's time to work with Russia, it's time to work with Russia. And when it's not, it's not. And he's been pretty clear about that," he said.

The United States, he said, does not recognise Russia's attempts to annex Crimea at all.President Trump, Gidley said, has done an incredible job in regaining some credibility across the globe.

"The President has made this country more respected, more feared, and quite frankly more beloved in a lot of areas than we were before," he said when asked about reports of protests against Trump during his next week's Europe visit.

"What the President is going to do is go into these meetings with the mindset to protect the American people, to stand with our partners and allies. But, as he said, many times before, America is thought, so often, to be the world's piggy bank, and that's got to stop," he said.

"We have problems here we have to fix at home, and that's what the President is focussed on. And he'll convey those messages, I'm sure, and sentiments to those other leaders," the White House official said.

America's relationship with Israel, he noted, has greatly enhanced under the Trump Administration.

"It's the only democracy in the region, and it was virtually thought of to be an enemy of the American people in the last administration," he said.

"So I think he's turned things around in a big way. To be respected, and feared, and beloved again is what the -- I think, the American people voted, and it's what they got," he added.

Established in 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) currently has 29 NATO members including from North America and Europe. The group's headquarters is in Brussels, where leaders from the member states will gather on July 11 and 12 for a summit.

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