President Trump on Wednesday said he would be talking further with the secretary general of NATO about the money member countries contribute to the alliance.

“I did ask about all the money that hasn’t been paid over the years,” Trump said during a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. “Will that money be coming back? We’ll be talking about that. We want to talk about that too.”

Trump frequently assailed the treaty organization as “unfair” to the U.S., arguing that other member states have long failed to uphold their defense spending commitments. Only five NATO countries — the U.S., Greece, Estonia, the U.K. and Poland — have met the treaty’s agreement that countries spend at least 2 percent of their annual GDP on defense by 2024. 

About 3.6 percent of U.S. GDP goes toward NATO defense spending.

{mosads}Stoltenberg offered praise for Trump’s call for greater cost sharing on Wednesday, crediting the president with drawing attention to the fact that some countries are still behind the goal.

“We are all seeing the effects of your strong focus on the importance of burden sharing in the alliance,” he said. “We agree that alliance need to redouble their efforts to meet the pledge we all made in 2014 to invest more in our alliance.”

“This means cash, capabilities and contributions,” Stoltenberg added. “Fair burden sharing has been my top priority since making office. We have now turned a corner.”

Last month, after meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump wrote on Twitter that Germany owes the U.S. “vast sums of money.” However, his wording misrepresents how NATO is organized by suggesting that nations pay the alliance; each nation funds its own defense spending under the NATO umbrella.

Tags Donald Trump Jens Stoltenberg NATO

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