Merkel Says Berlin Welcomes US Troops As Washington Threatens To Redeploy Forces To Poland

Merkel Says Berlin Welcomes US Troops as Washington Threatens to Redeploy Forces to Poland

BERLIN (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 14th August, 2019) German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday, days after the US ambassador suggested possibly redeploying some of Washington's contingent in Germany to Poland, that her country welcomed the presence of US troops and had many facilities that could host them.

Last week, US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell told the DPA news agency that the United States may send some of its troops stationed in Germany to Poland since the former had not increased its defense expenditure up to 2 percent of GDP, a goal set by NATO.

"I think that Germany has good places to accommodate troops, including US ones; we have invested a lot in that. We welcome the presence of US troops here in line with friendly negotiations. There are good reasons to station [US troops] in Germany and we at the same time must make efforts to make the Bundeswehr [Germany military] more effective," Merkel said.

The chancellor added that the country had already decided to increase defense spending up to 1.5 percent of GDP by 2024.

"These obligations [on defense spending] were undertaken by us not during the presidency of [Donald] Trump, but during the presidency of [Barack] Obama, and they need to be followed," Merkel said.

The suggested defense budget target for NATO members is 2 percent of a country's GDP. However, according to NATO statistics, less than one-third of the 29 member states achieved this in 2018. This year, Germany has said it would allocate 1.36 percent of its GDP toward defense.

Germany currently hosts 35,000 US troops and is home to 17,000 US nationals who work on the military bases.

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