At NATO Summit, Croatian President Talks Briefly with Trump

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President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović invited US President Trump to Croatia.

At the end of the NATO summit in Brussels, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović held a press conference and said she talked briefly with US President Donald Trump and invited him to visit Croatia, reports Večernji List on May 26, 2017.

“Actually, I was surprised how much he talked with everyone, including with me. He was mostly relaxed, cheerful and kind to everyone, and he even made some jokes. We discussed a lot of topics, including the situation in Southeast Europe. I have asked him for the United States to re-engage, and I warned him about all the threats that exist in our neighbourhood,” the President told reporters.

President Trump, unlike other leaders, did not hold a press conference, but immediately flew to Sicily, where he will participate in the summit of the G7 countries, after which he will return to the United States. In his speech at the public ceremony of unveiling a memorial in the new NATO headquarters in Brussels, he controversially said that other states owe massive amounts, because they did not meet “financial obligations” and did not spend two percent of their GDPs for defence. “In the past eight years, the United States has spent more on defence than all other NATO members put together. If everybody had spent two percent, we would have additional 119 billion dollars for joint defence,” said Trump.

Croatia is among the 23 of the 28 NATO members which did not reach the two percent target (this year, Croatia will spend 1.23 percent of its GDP on defence). Still, President Grabar-Kitarović does not see Trump’s speech as something negative. “He said that they stand 100 percent together with Europe, with the European Union, and this implies that Article 5 remains relevant. Maybe he missed to mention Article 5 explicitly in his speech, but he today opened a memorial to Article 5 because that NATO article has been used for the first and only time after September 11, 2001, when the operation in Afghanistan was launched, based on Article 5,” said President Grabar-Kitarović. She expects that, by the end of the year, Croatia will have plans on how to reach the 2 percent goal by 2024.

“I really do not believe that we can rely on anyone else, except on our own strength. Of course, being a member of NATO is very good in the sense that we are part of a security umbrella, we can always invoke Article 5 in case we are under attack. I think we have to keep not only the international commitments we have taken, but that it is also above all in our national interest. Let’s remember how Croatia defended itself in the 1990s. I think it is hypocritical to expect someone else to do what we ought to do ourselves, which is to defend our own country and our people,” said the President at the press conference at the NATO headquarters.


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