'Brain dead' NATO pulls off summit despite insults

Video Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on December 4, 2019 - Duration: 02:10s

'Brain dead' NATO pulls off summit despite insults

Insults flew at a NATO summit in London, where U.S. President Donald Trump was at the heart of several spats.

But the alliance deemed it a success.

Lucy Fielder reports.

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'Brain dead' NATO pulls off summit despite insults

A show of strength and unity at NATO's big birthday bash on Wednesday (December 4).

But the family photo put a brave face on family divisions.

U.S. President Donald Trump seemed to be at the heart of many of them -- he arrived at the summit calling the French president "nasty".

And left hours after he'd had this to say about Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau: (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "He's two-faced." That was after Trudeau apparently mocked an unusually long Trump media event in this exchange caught on camera at Buckingham Palace.

Leaders from Britain, the Netherlands and France can be seen laughing along.

Trump's comments about France's Emmanuel Macron followed the latter's assessment that NATO itself was undergoing "brain death".

Splits on spending and strategy haunted the 70th anniversary summit at this golf resort on the outskirts of London.

The U.S. president repeated his long-standing complaint that allies were failing to bear the financial burden of collective security.

This year he called them "delinquents".

Then, as the summit wound up -- a surprise.

Trump announced he'd said enough and cancelled his last press conference before leaving for Washington.

Because he'd done, he said, "so many".

A relief, perhaps for the host of the party, who most feared Trump's outspokenness.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces an election next week, and mostly dodged public appearances with the U.S. president -- a divisive figure for many Brits.

Officials though insisted the summit was a success.

Most importantly, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan backed off from an apparent threat to block plans to defend northern and eastern Europe, unless allies declared Kurdish fighters in Syria "terrorists".

Trudeau, meanwhile, sought to smooth things over -- saying he'd been happy to go along with what he called an "unscheduled" press conference.

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