Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 October 2020

German plea for US to rethink troop reduction plans

Forces are 'backbone of US presence in Europe and Nato's ability to act'

Hesse's State Premier Volker Bouffier, one of the signatories of the letter. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS
Hesse's State Premier Volker Bouffier, one of the signatories of the letter. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

Four German state leaders whose regions host most US troops in the country have written to members of the Senate and Congress to try to stop the America's pullout plans.

The state premiers of Bayern, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate hope to block US President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw about 9,500 service members.

The letter was sent to 13 members of the Senate and the House of Representatives on defence and security-related committees, or who have expressed opposition to Mr Trump’s decision.

They included Utah Republican Mitt Romney and Delaware Democrat Chris Coons.

The letter said the US troop presence in Germany was important for geopolitical reasons and the bilateral transatlantic partnership.

The four western German states have had major America troop bases since the Second World War.

The towns that host the bases have started grassroots campaigns to stop the withdrawal plans.

Mr Romney and Mr Coons are among the senators who introduced an amendment to the fiscal 2021 defence spending bill in June, which would limit the use of funds to reduce the troop presence in Germany.

“The withdrawal of US troops from Germany would be a gift to Russia and that’s the last thing we should be doing,” Mr Romney has said.

German politicians and government officials have criticised Mr Trump’s decision from early June, which would cut US troop numbers in Germany by slightly more than a quarter.

"We therefore ask you to support us as we strive not to sever the bond of friendship but to strengthen it, and to secure the US presence in Germany and Europe in the future," the German leaders concluded.

Updated: July 21, 2020 03:53 AM

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