Trump to visit London for Nato summit later this year

Trip comes after US president's last UK stay was met with large protests

Tom Embury-Dennis@tomemburyd
Wednesday 06 February 2019 15:20
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Donald Trump is to visit London for a Nato summit in December, it has been announced.

The US president’s trip comes after his stay in the UK during July was met with large protests, which he was largely kept away from.

Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said Mr Trump, who has mused about pulling the US out of the alliance, was due to attend along with other leaders to ”address the security challenges we face now and in the future”.

“It is the ideal setting to mark 70 years of transatlantic cooperation, as the home of Nato’s first HQ back in 1949. Grateful to UK for hosting,” Mr Stoltenberg tweeted.

Mr Trump’s last UK visit, which cost taxpayers £18m, saw the largest police mobilisation effort since the 2011 riots, as thousands of officers were deployed over three days to cope with the president’s security demands.

The trip was met with mass demonstrations, including one in central London thought to have been attended by more than 100,000 people, while roughly 50,000 gathered in Edinburgh.

A six-metre tall “baby balloon”, a caricature of Mr Trump depicting him as orange-faced and dressed in a nappy, was flown over Parliament Square during the London protest following a crowdfunding campaign by organisers.

Theresa May said she was “very pleased” Britain had been asked to host the meeting.

“December’s meeting is an important opportunity to determine the steps we must now take to modernise the Alliance and ensure its continued success,” she said in a statement.

Mr Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on America’s continued membership of Nato, blaming European allies, notably Germany, for lagging behind military spending goals the president has set.

In the days around a tumultuous Nato summit meeting last summer, the New York Times reported, Mr Trump told his top national security officials he did not see the point of the western military alliance, which he presented as a drain on the US.

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The annoucement of the London summit came the same day Nato paved the way for Macedonia to become the 30th member of the alliance.

Mr Stoltenberg and Macedonian foreign minister Nikola Dimitrov led the “accession protocol” signing ceremony on Wednesday at the alliance’s Brussels headquarters.

Greece had blocked Macedonia’s Nato membership for a decade over a name dispute, though last month the parliament in Athens backed a deal which named the country the Republic of North Macedonia.

The accession protocol must still be ratified by all 29 Nato members. Greece is set to become the first to do so this week.

Macedonia will then start calling itself North Macedonia and will join under that name, possibly later this year or in early 2020.

Additional reporting by agencies

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