Germany says U.S. demand for more NATO burden-sharing is 'fair'





By Sabine Siebold

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. call for NATO partners to step up funding for the transatlantic alliance is "a fair demand," German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday after what she called a positive first meeting with Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Germany and other European powers were unnerved when President Donald Trump during the election campaign accused NATO allies of failing to pay their way, and described the alliance shortly before he took office last month as "obsolete."

Trump offered some reassurance this week when he told U.S. forces: "We strongly support NATO."

Von der Leyen said Germany, which spends less than the NATO target of 2 percent of economic output on defence, understood it needed to increase that amount.

"I think it's a fair demand," von der Leyen said. "If we want to jointly master the crises in the world, namely the fight against terrorism, and also put the alliance on solid footing, then everyone has to pay their share."

She told reporters she welcomed an offer from Mattis to deepen the strategic dialogue between the two countries. He had also reiterated his clear and deep commitment to NATO.

Admiring comments from Trump about Russian President Vladimir Putin have raised concerns among some European countries that the United States might relax sanctions imposed against Moscow over its 2014 annexation of Crimea and its support for violent separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Von der Leyen said it was critical that NATO members remained unified. "It is ... very important that we speak with one voice."

She said she and Mattis agreed that many global problems, including the war in Syria, could not be solved without Russia, but Moscow needed to respect international law and the borders of other sovereign countries.

They had agreed it was important to "continue to act from a position of strength to extend an outstretched hand to Russia and work out our mutual problems at the negotiating table and then solve them."

The Pentagon said in a statement that Mattis thanked von der Leyen for Germany's leadership in NATO and acknowledged the role it plays in fighting terrorism, specifically in the coalition fighting Islamic State.

Both look forward to working together at the NATO Defense Ministerial and Munich Security Conference next week, the statement said.

Von der Leyen's meeting with Mattis lasted for about an hour, twice as long as planned. She was the first European defence minister to visit him at the Pentagon.

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold and Reuters TV; Additional reporting by Idrees Ali; Writing by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Erik Kirschbaum, Mark Trevelyan and Leslie Adler)

COMMENTS

More Related News

China, U.S. agree on aim of
China, U.S. agree on aim of 'complete, irreversible' Korean denuclearization
  • World
  • 2017-06-24 11:35:44Z

China and the United States agreed that efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula should be "complete, verifiable and irreversible", Chinese state media said on Saturday, reporting the results of high level talks in Washington this week. "Both sides reaffirm that they will strive for

White House says Trump tweet meets Comey tapes records request
White House says Trump tweet meets Comey tapes records request

The White House said in a letter on Friday that a tweet by President Donald Trump on Thursday was the formal answer to a request by the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee for information about records of conversations with fired FBI Director James Comey. The letter to Republican Representative Mike Conaway, who is leading the panel's investigation into Russian interference to the 2016 election, and Representative Adam Schiff, the committee's top Democrat, said: "In response to the committee's inquiry, we refer you to President Trump's June 22, 2017, statement regarding this matter." The House panel said on June 9 it had written to Don McGahn, the White House counsel, asking...

Trump signs law to make VA more accountable for vets
Trump signs law to make VA more accountable for vets' care

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump signed a bill into law Friday that will make it easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire employees, part of a push to overhaul an agency that is struggling to serve millions of military vets.

Johnny Depp Apologizes for Joking About Trump Assassination:
Johnny Depp Apologizes for Joking About Trump Assassination: 'I Intended No Malice'

Johnny Depp is apologizing after the immediate backlash to his off-the-cuff "bad joke" about assasinating the president.

Trump signals he will work with Republican holdouts on health bill
Trump signals he will work with Republican holdouts on health bill
  • US
  • 2017-06-23 14:59:39Z

U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledged that a lack of support from four Senate Republicans leaves the party's healthcare overhaul on a "very, very narrow path" to win passage, but signaled a willingness to work with them to make changes. "I am very supportive of the Senate #Healthcarebill.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Europe

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.