70th anniversary of NATO overshadowed by festering rows

AgenciesUpdated: Wednesday, December 04, 2019, 10:29 PM IST
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NATO heads of government. | Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP

Watford: NATO leaders sought to make a show of unity on Wednesday as they met to conclude their annual summit, but the alliance's chief admitted a festering row with Turkey was still unresolved.

What should have been a celebration of NATO's 70th birthday has been overshadowed by bitter rows about money and the future strategy of the alliance.

Last year, the Western allies' get-together was derailed by US President Donald Trump's demand for greater European defence spending, but 2019's provocateur was France's Emmanuel Macron.

The French president has called for a renewed strategic dialogue with Moscow and demanded that Turkey explain itself over its assault backed by Syrian rebels Paris sees as extremists on Kurdish forces.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson denied on Wednesday he was avoiding being pictured with Donald Trump ahead of a UK election next week, as footage emerged of other leaders mocking the US president.

Johnson met Trump away from the cameras on Tuesday before a two-day NATO summit, avoiding the media fanfare that normally accompanies such talks.

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