German states ask US Congress not to withdraw troops

BERLIN (Reuters) – Premiers of four German states have called on 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 reduce the number of US troops in Germany from 9,500 to 25,000, criticizing the NATO member for failing to meet the Alliance’s defense spending target of the North Atlantic and accusing him of profiting from America on 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 to ensure the American presence in Germany and Europe in the future,” the prime ministers wrote. of Bavaria, Hesse, Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate.

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

But the prime ministers wrote that US forces in their states “form the backbone of the US presence in Europe and of NATO’s ability to act.”

(Reporting by Markus Wacker; additional reporting and writing by Tom Sims in Frankfurt; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

James R. Rhodes