Dutch PM Rutte meets trump; expects 'fine' relationship

Prime Minister Mark Rutte meets with U.S. president Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a NATO summit in Brussels, 25 May 2017
Prime Minister Mark Rutte meets with U.S. president Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a NATO summit in Brussels, 25 May 2017. Photo: Minister-President / Facebook

Prime Minister Mark Rutte met U.S. president Donald Trump for the first time at a NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday. The two had a "fine dialog", according to Rutte. "I'm going to build a fine relationship with him", the Dutch Prime Minister said to RTL Nieuws.

Trump fiercely criticized NATO countries who don't spend 2 percent of their national income on Defense. This includes the Netherlands, for who spending 2 percent on Defense would mean an extra 6 billion euros a year. "That will be an important topic in the formation", Rutte commented. "I said that I support it and that we are working towards it step by step. You can't spend it all at once."

Rutte added that Trump stated that the United States remains committed to a strong NATO, calling it "good to hear" in a statement on Facebook. "The serious security threats to both the east and south boundaries, but also the terrible attack in Manchester, again underline the need for our alliance", Rutte wrote. 

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg is also convinced that Trump is committed to NATO, despite him breaking tradition by not openly stating that he is bound to Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which obliges member states to help each other if one of them is attacked. "He was blunt in his demand that allies should spend more money on their defense, but at the same time he was clear that the U.S. feels bound to the alliance." Stoltenberg said, according to RTL.

Stoltenberg is not too concerned about the fact that Trump did not openly say he is bound to Article 5. The fact that before the summit Trump unveiled a statue in memory of the 9/11 attack - after which Article 5 was first implemented - is sufficient proof that Trump is bound to NATO principles, according to Stoltenberg. 

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