The Latest: Russia watching NATO, warns of ‘confrontation’
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the NATO summit in London (all times local):
As NATO leaders trade barbs ahead of a tense summit in London, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that Russia is watching developments at the alliance’s birthday meeting “with great attention.”
The 29-country trans-Atlantic military alliance was founded in 1949 to provide collective security for Europe against what was then the Soviet Union.
Peskov said Tuesday that NATO is “a product of the era of confrontation, the Cold War era,” something he says that Russia does not want to return to.
But he says that “an alliance that was created and shaped by the confrontation ideology, of course, can’t bring anything else” but confrontation.
Turkey’s increasingly close relations with Moscow — and its purchase of Russian air defense systems that are incompatible with NATO equipment — has added to tensions among the allies.
But Peskov says those ties are not hurting NATO.
France, meanwhile, also wants closer ties with Russia.
President Donald Trump is vowing to stay out of U.K. parliamentary elections set for this month but is praising incumbent Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership.
Trump says he and Johnson will meet during the two-day NATO leaders’ meeting in London, although the White House has not announced a sit-down.
While the British premier and Trump have a friendly relationship, Johnson is trying to keep Trump, who is unpopular in the U.K., at arms-length ahead of the Dec. 12 elections.
“I don’t want to complicate it,” Trump told reporters at the start of a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
Trump added that he’s a “fan” of Brexit and said he knows “nothing” of Johnson’s Labour Party rival, Jeremy Corbyn.
He described Johnson as “very capable” and said “he will do a good job.”
Johnson is set to host Trump and other NATO leaders at a reception in London later Tuesday.
U.S. President Donald Trump says French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent comments that NATO is experiencing “brain death” is very insulting to the military alliance’s other 28 members.
Trump took aim at Macron with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg by his side and called his comments “very nasty.”
Macron said the alliance was experiencing “brain death” in an interview with the Economist published last month, suggesting that the alliance was becoming obsolete.
“Nobody needs NATO more than France,” Trump said.
Trump has repeatedly criticized fellow NATO members and complained that too few nations are on track to meet the alliance goal of spending at least 2% of GDP on defense by 2024.
Trump also lashed out at France for a digital service tax that he said unfairly discriminates against U.S. tech companies, including Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.
Robert Lighthizer, the chief U.S. trade representative, on Monday recommended the U.S. respond with $2.4 billion in new tariffs on French cheese, wine and other products.
Trump is scheduled to meet Macron later Tuesday on the sidelines of the NATO summit.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he still will not agree to a NATO defense proposal for Poland and the Baltic nations until the alliance supports Ankara’s concerns related to Syrian Kurdish fighters.
Before departing to attend a NATO leaders’ summit in London, Erdogan said he would discuss the issue with the leaders of Poland and the Baltics during the gathering that marks the alliance’s 70th birthday.
A plan to defend the Baltic nations in case of a Russian attack requires all member states’ backing.
Turkey has accused NATO allies of backing Baltic countries’ security concerns but dismissing threats to Turkey from the Kurdish fighters.
Turkey considers the Kurdish fighters to be terrorists and invaded parts of northeast Syria to drive them away from its border.