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NATO Summit first day overshadowed by tensions between allies

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-07-12 09:24
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (center L) shakes hands with US President Donald Trump during a NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, July 11, 2018. NATO leaders gather in Brussels for a two-day meeting. [Photo/Xinhua]

BRUSSELS - The North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit began Wednesday in Brussels with verbal fireworks as recent tensions between allies and the United States were laid bare by US President Donald Trump in a growing row over burden sharing and foreign influence.

Setting the tone for the summit's first day, President Trump made waves Wednesday morning at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg when he accused Germany of being under the sway of Russian interests.

"Germany is totally controlled by Russia because they will be getting 60-70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline," Trump told reporters, calling the alleged dependence on Russian energy "inappropriate."

EU figures show Russia may be responsible for between 50 percent and 75 percent of Germany's gas imports, but gas makes up less than 20 percent of Germany's power production mix.

"On top of that Germany is just paying just a little bit over 1 percent of GDP on NATO defence contributions whereas the United States is paying 4.2 percent of a much larger GDP. So I think that's inappropriate also," Trump claimed.

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