German states call on US Congress not to withdraw troops

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FILE PHOTO: US Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) attends Senate hearings on small business and entrepreneurship to review the implementation of Title I of the CARES Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, United States United, June 10, 2020. Kevin Dietsch / Pool via REUTERS

BERLIN (Reuters) – Prime ministers of four German states have called on members of the US Congress to block plans to withdraw American troops from Germany, according to letters seen by Reuters on Sunday.

President Donald Trump said last month he would reduce the number of US troops in Germany from 9,500 to 25,000, criticizing the fellow NATO member for failing to meet the alliance’s defense spending target of the North Atlantic and accusing it of profiting from America in matters of trade.

The premiers of the four southern states, all of which have US bases, addressed the letters to 13 members of Congress, including Senators Mitt Romney and Jim Inhofe.

“We therefore ask you to support us as we strive not to sever the bond of friendship but to strengthen it and ensure the American presence in Germany and Europe in the future”, wrote the prime ministers of Bavaria. , from Hesse, Baden-W├╝rttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate.

A spokesperson for the US Embassy in Berlin declined to comment. Last month, Washington said the move “would strengthen Russian deterrence, strengthen NATO, reassure the Allies.”

But the prime ministers wrote that American forces in their states “constitute the backbone of the American presence in Europe and of NATO’s capacity for action”.

Reporting by Markus Wacker; additional reporting and writing by Tom Sims in Frankfurt; Edited by Kevin Liffey

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