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NATO turns 70 with top-level feuding

Published : Tuesday, 3 December, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 88

BRUSSELS, Dec 2: NATO marks its 70th birthday at a summit Tuesday but the celebration could well turn into an arena of political combat between the alliance's feuding leaders.
Heads of state and government will descend on London Tuesday bracing for a scrap over spending and how to deal with Russia, in a huge test of unity within NATO -- billed by its own officials as the "most successful alliance in history".
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly accused European countries of failing to pay their way and will be looking for evidence they are stepping up defence spending.
France's Emmanuel Macron has despaired of the club's strategic direction, saying it is suffering "brain death" -- riling other leaders and drawing a rare public rebuke from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
And, on Friday, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, furious at Western criticism of his operation in northern Syria against the Kurds, hit back with a personal attack on Macron.
"First of all, have your own brain death checked. These statements are suitable only to people like you who are in a state of brain death," Erdogan declared Friday.
French officials summoned the Turkish envoy in Paris to complain while a US administration official said that many members would tackle Turkey over its purchase of a Russian S-400 air defence system.    -AFP









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