NATO members wrap up divisive summit with promises to work together

World Today

France’s President Emmanuel Macron (R) jokes with US President Donald Trump (C) next to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as they arrive for the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit, at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, on July 11, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / Tatyana ZENKOVICH)

The two-day NATO summit has concluded, but not before celebrating some successes. While comments by U.S. President Donald Trump caused tension between the U.S. and its NATO allies, in the end, all pledged to increase military commitments.

CGTN’s Mariam Zaidi reports from Brussels.

Follow Mariam Zaidi on Twitter @zaidi_mariam

NATO heads of state gathered for a celebration before concluding the summit. NATO formally invited the Republic of North Macedonia to join the alliance despite Russian opposition.

“Once all your national procedures are complete, and all NATO Allies have ratified your accession, you will become the 30th member of this alliance,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

Thursday morning also brought praise and support for both Georgia and Ukraine. NATO once again condemned what it called Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, and raised hopes that in due time, Georgia may also one day join the alliance.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, second right, walk in the atrium during a summit of NATO heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. (Tatyana Zenkovich, Pool Photo via AP)

Allies agreed to boost their contributions in the fight against terrorism. NATO will fund security forces in Afghanistan until 2024, and launch a new training mission in Iraq led by Canada.

“We’re now in the phase of winning the peace. So the conventional fight is complete. It was a great victory for Iraqi forces. But now we need sustain the development of Iraqi security institutions,” NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General John Manza said.

“In particular what NATO is going to do is work on the professionalization of the Iraqi armed forces. Help them build schools in the field for combat skills and help them build professional military education institutions.”

As the summit wrapped up, it once again became all about one thing: Donald Trump. The U.S. President decided to hold an impromptu press conference.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference after a summit of heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Thursday, July 12, 2018. NATO leaders gather in Brussels for a two-day summit. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

“I told people I’d be very unhappy if they didn’t up their commitments very substantially. Because the U.S. has been paying a tremendous amount. Probably 90-percent of NATO and now we’re very happy and have a very, very powerful, very, very strong NATO, much stronger than it was two days ago,” U.S. President Donald Trump said.

“The U.S. President demanded that burden sharing change, as has been discussed for months. And we, or I did for myself as did many others, made clear that we’re on the way. And that this is in our own interest and will strengthen us,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

Trump even went so far as to call the NATO meeting “fantastic.” When asked if he might change his mind later on Twitter, he said no. True to his word, he later tweeted a simple “Thank you.”

Eleanor Clift discusses the tense tone of the NATO summit

CGTN’s Asieh Namdar spoke to Eleanor Clift for insight into the tone, rhetoric and substance of the NATO summit. Clift is a Political Analyst at the U.S. news site, The Daily Beast.

Nelson Cunningham discusses outcomes of the NATO summit

CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke to Nelson Cunningham for his observations on the NATO summit. Cunningham is the President and Co-Founder of McLarty Associates. He was also a Special Adviser to former President Clinton on Western Hemisphere Relations.