German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump underscored the importance of the NATO alliance and vowed to work more closely together to combat terrorism and militancy, the two leaders said in a joint statement on Saturday.
Merkel and Trump spoke by telephone on Saturday about NATO, the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, their ties to Russia and the conflict in eastern Ukraine, according to a statement approved by both countries.
“The leaders recognized that NATO must be capable of confronting 21st century threats and that our common defense requires appropriate investment in military capabilities to ensure all allies are contributing their fair share to our collective security,” Merkel and Trump said in the statement.
Trump accepted Merkel’s invitation to attend a summit of G20 industrialized countries in Hamburg in July, and said he looked forward to welcoming Merkel to Washington soon. Germany is chairing the G20 group this year.[…]
The language on NATO came after Trump called the alliance “obsolete”, but it highlighted the need for reforms and updates.
Trump has repeatedly criticized NATO members such as Germany that do not spend 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on their militaries.
Merkel has said Germany will work to increase its defense spending – now at 1.19 percent of GDP – but also warned that it would take time to achieve the goal.
Trump has also said Merkel made a “catastrophic mistake” by allowing more than a million refugees, mostly Muslims fleeing war in the Middle East, to come to Germany.
HT: Daily Timewaster