Trump hosts Baltic Presidents at the White House

President of the United States of America Donald J. Trump played host to the Presidents of the three Baltic states, plus their entourages, at the White House in Washington, D.C. March 3.

In introductory comments, Trump said the fact the Baltic states were celebrating the centenaries of their founding was "quite a great achievement" and promised "a lot of territory" would be covered during an hour and half of subsequent talks in a brief video clip posted online by LTV News.

 

However, President Trump also took time to praise his own leadership and railed against his erstwhile election foe Hillary Clinton, declaring that he was responsible for NATO member states paying "many billions of dollars more" than they would have done if she had, in theory, won the election.

"Because of me, and you can speak to the head of NATO, Mr Stoltenberg, he said that because of what I've said to the countries they've taken in... many billions of dollars more than they would've had if you'd had crooked Hillary Clinton as president," said Trump.

In response to a question from LTV Trump said the Baltic states were "a great place to invest."

"No-one has been tougher on Russia than I have," Trump said soon afterwards in response to a question from Estonian media. 

"NATO was delinquent, they were not paying their bills, they were not paying, a lot of states, as we discussed. They were not paying what they should be paying... now they're paying, and they will have to pay more, frankly," he said.

On recent diplomatic expulsions, Trump said: "Germany did four, France did four. We did 60. There's nobody been tougher on Russia... and with that being said, I think I could have a very good relationship with President Putin. I think. It's possible I won't. But believe me, this room will know about it before I know about it," Trump added.

 

 

During the joint press conference of the four Presidents, Raimonds Vējonis said:

"The Unites States of America is our closest friend and ally."

"We have agreed to enhance our security and defense cooperation," Vējonis said, adding that 2% of GDP would continue to be spent on defense, but then moved on to say "Today all of us committed to placing greater emphasis on advancing our economic and trade relationship."

Closer "people to people contacts" should also be promoted, he said.

"President Trump was an outstanding host today," Vējonis concluded.

The most memorable line came from Estonia's President Kersti Kaljulaid, who described the Baltics and the U.S. as an "axis of good".

The Presidents also issued a joint declaration which can be read in English HERE.

It includes a paragraph saying:

The United States of America intends to continue periodic deployment of forces to the Baltic States to strengthen deterrence and to catalyze the efforts of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to develop their national defense. The United States is determined to help Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to improve their military readiness and capabilities through sustained security assistance.  We continue to explore new ideas and opportunities, including air defense, bilaterally and in NATO, to enhance deterrence across the region.

A briefing document released by the White House gave some more details of planned military spending, saying "The United States plans to provide nearly $100 million for procurement of large-caliber ammunition and over $70 million in training and equipping programs to the Baltics to build the capacity of the national military or national-level security forces of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania."

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