German states appeal to US Congress not to withdraw troops

FILE PHOTO: US Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) Washington, DC, US Participates in Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Hearing on Capitol Hill on June 10, 2020 to investigate the implementation of Title I of the CARES Act.

BERLIN (Reuters) – The Premier of four German states has appealed to members of the US Congress to block plans to withdraw US troops from Germany, according to letters seen by Reuters on Sunday.

President Donald Trump said last month he would have cut the number of US troops from Germany from 9,500 to 25,000, a member of NATO’s failure to meet the North Atlantic Alliance’s defense spending target and take advantage of the US over trade pointing fingers.

The Prime Ministers of the four southern states, all home to American bases, addressed letters to 13 members of Congress including Senators Mitt Romney and Jim Inhoeff.

“We therefore ask you to support us as we strive not to strengthen the bonds of friendship, but to strengthen it, and to secure America’s presence in Germany and Europe in the future,” Bavaria, Hesse, Baden-Wuerttag and the Rhineland-Palatinate.

A spokesman for the US Embassy in Berlin declined to comment. Last month, Washington said the move would “increase Russian sanctions, strengthen NATO, reassure allies”.

But the Premier wrote that the US military in their states “forms the backbone of the US presence in Europe and NATO’s ability to function”.

Reporting by Marcus Wacker; Additional reporting and writing by Tom Sims in Frankfurt; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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