Steinmeier on Trump: “These statements play into the hands of Russia”

bPresident Frank-Walter Steinmeier sharply criticized Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s statements about NATO. “These statements are irresponsible and even play into Russia’s hands,” Steinmeier said Monday during a visit to the Cypriot capital Nicosia. “And no one in our alliance can be interested in this.” These statements do not contribute to the strength that NATO needs.

Steinmeier also made it clear that it was “absolutely clear” to him “that we in Europe, including us in Germany, must contribute to a systematic build-up of defense efforts within NATO over the next few years.” in the USA in the fall.

Trump said at a campaign event in South Carolina that the “president of a great country” once asked him whether the United States would still defend the country against Russia even if it didn’t pay for the defense. He replied: “No, I would not defend you.” Moreover, he would “even encourage Russia to do whatever the hell they want.”

It was unclear whether such a conversation ever took place between Trump and the head of state, as the Republican also said: “Let’s assume it happened.”

Even after Trump’s announcements, the federal government is building a functioning defense alliance. “In its security and defense policy, the federal government clearly relies on the transatlantic alliance and the transatlantic community of values ​​and sees its security guaranteed in NATO,” deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann said Monday in Berlin. The federal government “certainly took note” of Trump’s statements.

“We intend to achieve the target of two percent”

In this context, Hoffmann also noted on Monday that Germany is currently meeting NATO’s defense spending target of two percent. She did not want to speculate on possible US demands to further increase this goal. “We rely on a strong and capable NATO,” she said.

She added that the federal government is “committed to the two percent target and intends to continue to achieve it. And we are very aware of the dangers that imperialist Russia poses to Europe, and what this means for the defense capabilities of Germany and NATO.”

The former American president has said several times in the past that it is unfair that the US should come to the defense of 30 other member states. First of all, he criticized the fact that Europeans do not spend enough money on weapons.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell stressed that the military alliance cannot depend on the whim of the US president. “NATO cannot be a military alliance of choice,” Borrell said ahead of an informal meeting of EU development ministers in Brussels. It cannot mean “yes now, no tomorrow.” The alliance exists or it does not exist.

Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine

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