NATO leaders played down their differences, declaring they would stand together against the common threats from Russia and prepare for security threats coming China.
Officials said the summit was a success: most notably, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan backed off from a threat to block plans to defend northern and eastern Europe unless allies declared Kurdish fighters in Syria terrorists.
Over the past 70 years, the transatlantic defense alliance has grown from 12 to 29 members, soon to be 30 with North Macedonia.
But the family has experienced tensions, most recently, with a sharp exchange of words making headlines—French President Emmanuel Macron called NATO “brain dead”, then Turkey’s President said Macron suffered from “brain death.” Trump described Macron’s words as “very nasty.”
Trump followed by saying that Macron doesn’t feel that way any more. “Speaking with the president of France, yesterday we had a very good meeting. He’s taken back his words very much so on NATO,” he said.
NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg also brushed away the disagreements in a press conference.
“There have been disagreements in NATO as long as this alliance has existed,” Stoltenberg said. “We are 29 different countries, from both sides of the Atlantic.”
Stoltenberg reiterated that the alliance is strong, saying they have a new action plan against terrorism, are looking at secure telecommunications, in particular, 5G networks, and are addressing threats from Russia and China.
In a joint declaration, the alliance’s 29 leaders said: “Russia’s aggressive actions constitute a threat to Euro-Atlantic security; terrorism in all its forms and manifestations remains a persistent threat to us all.”
Trump had individual meetings with several leaders, including Erdoğan, Germany’s Angela Merkel, Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Earlier Johnson said the UK will make a decision on Huawei keeping in mind national security infrastructure.
It’s been a whirlwind trip for Trump and the first lady, who are now back on their home soil.
With reporting by Jane Werrell
Reuters contributed to this report.