Trump calls Brexit 'a great thing'; NATO 'obsolete'

16 January 2017

Donald J Trump, in his first UK interview since becoming US president-elect, said that Brexit is "going to end up being a great thing" and that Russia's intervention in Syria is a "very bad thing".

Donald J TrumpIn an interview with London's The Times Trump spoke on a wide range of issues, including Brexit, Russia, NATO and the refugee crisis. This was the first time the Republican Trump, who will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States of America on 20 January, spoke to a UK publication since his election victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Terming Britain's exit from the European Union as something that "is going to end up being a great thing", Trump predicted that more countries would follow the UK's lead in leaving the 28-nation bloc.

The arrival of migrants into Europe was one of the factors behind Brexit, Trump said, calling the refugee influx the "final straw that broke the camel's back". He said that he would work hard to get a trade deal with the UK "done quickly and done properly." The deal would be "good for both sides", he added, also confirming that he will meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May soon after he takes office.

Trump predicted that continuing inflow of migrants into Europe could lead to the EU breaking up. "I think this, if refugees keep pouring into different parts of Europe ... I think it's gonna be very hard to keep it (the EU) together because people are angry about it," the Republican leader said. He further said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom he termed a "fantastic leader", made a "catastrophic mistake" in letting migrants flood into Germany.

On Russia

Trump signalled that he could offer relaxing sanctions imposed against Moscow if the latter agrees to a deal to reduce the stockpile of nuclear weapons. He went on to criticise Russia's involvement in the Syrian civil war, calling Kremlin's intervention "a very bad thing" that had led to a "terrible humanitarian situation".

"For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially," Trump said.

Complaining that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation had "not bothered about terrorism", Trump called the NATO alliance an "obsolete organisation" and, at the same time, said it remains "very important" to him.

Trump also reiterated his often-repeated complaint that some NATO members weren't paying enough. "We're supposed to protect countries. But a lot of these countries aren't paying what they're supposed to be paying, which I think is very unfair to the United States," the US president-elect said, adding, "There's five countries that are paying what they're supposed to. Five. It's not much."

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