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Donald Trump

Trump vows to defend all Nato nations if they are attacked and invoke ‘Article 5’

Article 5 is provision in Nato treaty requiring members to defend each other if they come under attack

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 June, 2017, 4:02am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 June, 2017, 4:02am

President Donald Trump publicly reaffirmed his commitment to Nato’s mutual defence provision, countering suggestions he previously made that he might not deploy US troops to defend a member state under attack.

“Absolutely, I’d be committed to Article 5,” Trump said Friday at a press conference with Romanian president Klaus Iohannis at the White House, invoking the provision of the treaty that requires signers to defend other nations in the alliance.

The US president stunned Europe’s leaders at a summit on May 25 when he failed to publicly back the now 29-member bloc’s founding mutual defence guarantee, and instead castigated the allies for failing to pay their way.

Trump castigates Nato allies for weak defence spending and warns of more Manchester-style attacks

Amid worries by Washington’s European partners that the US leader had not fully bought into the Atlantic alliance, Trump said: “I’m committing the United States to Article Five. Certainly we are there to protect.”

“That’s one of the reasons that I want people to make sure we have a very, very strong force, by paying the kinds of money necessary to have that force,” Trump told a joint press conference with visiting Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

The White House has praised Romania as among the countries meeting the president’s call for alliance members to increase their defense spending. Earlier this year, the Romanian Defence Ministry announced its budget would be pegged to 2 per cent of gross domestic product, in line with a benchmark set by members of the pact in 2014.

During the presidential campaign Trump said the US might not come to the defence of nations that hadn’t yet met that goal.

Politico reported that while the president’s top foreign policy aides had encouraged him to include such assurances in the speech in Brussels, he decided at the last minute to drop that part of his prepared remarks.

In subsequent days and weeks, the White House has attempted to downplay the controversy, saying the president’s attendance at Nato headquarters itself symbolised his commitment to the mutual defense treaty.