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2019.12.03 09:50

Trump to host eight countries for exclusive lunch, as NATO summit kicks off in London

Vaidotas Beniušis, BNS2019.12.03 09:50

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda arrived in London on Monday evening for a NATO summit that may be overshadowed by Turkey's row with Western allies.

On Tuesday, Nausėda and his wife will attend a reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II to mark the 70th anniversary of the Alliance as well as an informal reception hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Rows between Turkey and Western countries and French President Emmanuel Macron's calls on Europe to improve relations with Russia may come under the spotlight as leaders will sit down at the negotiating table on Wednesday.

US President Donald Trump, for his part, is expected to focus on allies' insufficient defence spending, and the growing threat from China.

Toward the end of the summit, the US president will on Wednesday afternoon host a separate lunch for the leaders of eight countries, including Lithuania, that spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on defence.

According to diplomats, Poland and the Baltic countries may raise the issue of updated defence plans for the region during the summit. Ankara blocks these plans until a solution is found as to how to approve a similar plan for Turkey.

Read more: Turkey holds Baltic NATO plans hostage over Syria – 'it's not the first time'

The most contentious issue is Turkey's demand that some Syrian Kurdish groups be named as terrorist organisations.

Lithuanian Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis and Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius are also in London for the NATO summit.

Before the summit, Nausėda will meet with potential investors in the City of London, and with the local Lithuanian diaspora.

According to the president's office, Nausėda will invite British finance and financial technology companies, such as Credit Suisse, HSBC, Innovate Finance, JP Morgan, KPMG, Revolut, Moody's, UK Finance and others, "to start and develop their business in Lithuania".

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The BNS journalist's trip to London was paid for by the UK embassy. This has no impact on the contents of the news report.