Merkel spokesman: Germany will keep strengthening ties to US

Merkel spokesman: Germany will keep strengthening ties to US
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Angela Merkel’s spokesman says the German chancellor remains focused on strengthening ties with Washington, following her remarks that Germany can't "completely depend" on the U.S.

“[They] are a strong pillar of our foreign and security policy, and Germany will continue working to strengthen these relations,” Steffen Seibert told The Associated Press Monday. “Precisely because they are so important, it’s right to name differences honestly."

Seibert added that Merkel is “a convinced trans-Atlanticist” but her recent remarks about the U.S. “speaks for itself.”

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Merkel on Sunday said that Germany can no longer “completely depend” on the U.S.

“The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out,” she said at a campaign rally in Munich. "I’ve experienced that in the last few days. [Europeans] must really take our destiny into our own hands.”

Trump on Saturday refused to participate in a pledge with his Group of 7 (G7) counterparts supporting the 195-nation Paris climate deal.

The president later that day tweeted that his “final decision” on the climate pact is coming sometime this week.

Merkel on Saturday told reporters about an “intense” exchange where Germany and the other five G7 members pressured Trump to join the pact.

“[We] made it clear that we want the U.S. to stick to its commitments,” she said.

Trump last week also scolded NATO allies for not meeting their obligations during a ceremony at the alliance’s new headquarters in Brussels.

“NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations,” he said while other leaders watched from the sidelines.

Trump has focused on the fact 23 of NATO’s 28 member nations have not met the group’s target of spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense.