British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to raise concerns Thursday with President Donald Trump over U.S. leaks to the media of investigative details of the Manchester bombing.
May is to cut short her attendance at the NATO leaders’ meeting in Brussels amid a critical-level threat of another terrorist attack in her country.
Police working on the Manchester case, who are “furious about the disclosures,” have stopped sharing information with their American counterparts, according to the BBC.
The halt in sharing with the United States of police information about the attack will remain in place until assurances are received from Washington that there will be no further leaks, the Reuters news agency quoted sources as saying on Thursday.
Various U.S. media outlets reported the name of the suicide bomber, attributing the information to American officials, before it was released by British officials. The New York Times subsequently published forensic photographs from the attack, which had not been officially released.
Eight in custody
Eight men have been taken into custody in connection with Monday night’s bomb blast at an Ariana Grande concert. The explosion killed 22, including children, and wounded 64 other people.
The bomb was detonated by Manchester-born Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old from a family of Libyan origin.
Ahead of meetings this week with NATO leaders, President Donald Trump has called terrorism the No. 1 problem facing the world, and said we are “making tremendous progress” in the fight against terror.
Trump, meeting Wednesday with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel in Brussels, said the U.S. and NATO will work on “various problems,” but Trump pointed to the suicide bombing Monday in Britain and noted that terrorism is at the top of the list.
“When you see something like that happened a few days ago, you realize how important it is to win this fight. And we will win this fight,” he said.
Trump arrived in Brussels Wednesday afternoon following talks with the pope at the Vatican in Rome. Trump said on Twitter after the meeting he is “more determined than ever to pursue PEACE in our world.”
Thursday morning, Trump woke to a gorgeous spring morning in Brussels — and a huge flag from Greenpeace criticizing his policies.
Around 7 a.m., the environmental group got on top of a construction crane close to the U.S. embassy where Trump stayed overnight and unfurled a huge banner saying “(hash)RESIST.”
When the president arrived at European Union headquarters later in the morning, he was greeted by Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, and other officials.
Trump concluded his meeting at the European Union headquarters about 11:30 a.m., then headed to the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium’s residence where he was to have a working lunch with newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron.
Trump to be tough on allies
Aboard Air Force One, on the flight from Italy to Belgium, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump would be “very tough” on NATO allies Thursday and tell them “you need to make sure you’re doing your share for your security as well.”
Trump wants to “persuade NATO members to step up and fully meet their obligations under burden sharing the 2 percent of GDP is a target they all agreed to,” Tillerson told reporters.
The defense alliance is expected to give the U.S. president at least one big thing he wants: a commitment to the coalition to fight Islamic State.
“We do think that would be a really important step for them to take,” Tillerson said.
Article 5 endorsement
Trump is likely to allay NATO members’ concerns about his administration’s commitment to the pact’s mutual assistance pledge, something that has been in doubt.
During a ceremony Thursday, Trump is expected to finally endorse Article 5, under which any NATO member agrees to come to the aid of an ally under attack. The only time it has been invoked was when al-Qaida terrorists attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.
Before Wednesday’s meeting with the pope, Trump spent several days touring the Middle East and meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as well as other leaders in the Muslim world. While speaking to dozens of Muslim leaders in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, he called for Muslim unity in the fight against terrorism.
Tillerson said he thinks the Manchester attack will only serve to strengthen ties between the U.S. and NATO in the fight against terrorism.
“I think the horrible attack in Manchester just reminded all of us just why we have to do this,” said the secretary of state. “We have to do it, we can’t leave it for someone else to do.”
After participating in the inauguration of a new NATO headquarters and a meeting of the alliance’s leaders, the president will return to Italy, specifically the island of Sicily, for the Group of Seven summit.