Europe hits back at Trump over NATO, Iran deal
Bryan McManus with Tom Barfield in Frankfurt
AFPJanuary 16, 2017
In comments set to cause further consternation among eastern European NATO countries nervous about Moscow following Russia's annexation of Crimea and involvement in Ukraine, Trump slammed NATO as "obsolete".
"I said a long time ago that NATO had problems," Trump told The Times of London and Bild, Germany's biggest-selling daily, just days ahead of his inauguration Friday.
"Number one, it was obsolete, because it was designed many, many years ago," he said.
"Number two, the countries aren't paying what they're supposed to pay."
On the campaign trail, Trump said he would think twice about helping NATO allies if the United States were not "reasonably reimbursed" for the costs of defending them.
After Trump's victory, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance had been a bedrock of transatlantic security for "almost 70 years" and was especially needed at a time of new challenges.
Spending has been a common source of friction within the 28-nation alliance over recent years.
The core military contributor to the alliance is the United States, which accounts for about 70 percent of spending.