Merkel Says NATO Must Show Strength and Keep Dialog With Russia

  • NATO shouldn’t allow itself to be divided, German leader says
  • Merkel, Trump to meet at NATO summit in Brussels this month

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization needs to show strength and keep open lines of dialog amid a new political security situation in Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

Angela Merkel

Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

The NATO alliance must stick together in the face of threats including Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the chancellor said in her weekly podcast Saturday. The trans-Atlantic alliance shouldn’t allow itself to be divided into North America and Europe, Merkel said in one of her strongest pro-NATO statements since Donald Trump’s election as U.S. president.

Merkel on Friday sharpened her tone against President Trump’s demands that Germany should boost defense spending, saying she’ll keep insisting targets for development aid are just as important. The chancellor’s comments also come after a tense encounter on Tuesday with President Putin, to discuss issues including European Union sanctions on Russia and the situation in Syria.

The U.S. administration has ruled out counting foreign aid toward NATO’S defense spending target of 2 percent of gross domestic product in member states. A day after Merkel’s first meeting with Trump at the White House in March, the U.S. president said in a Twitter post that Germany owes “vast sums of money to NATO.” The two leaders will meet again at a NATO summit in Brussels later this month.

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