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Thursday, June 21, 2018, 

German foreign minister pushes for return to strong US ties

German foreign minister pushes for return to strong US ties

Munich, 17 February 2018 (MIA) - Germany's foreign minister slammed the "America first" approach of President Donald Trump's administration Saturday, saying that close U.S. ties with a strong European Union are as much in Washington's interest as they are in Europe's, The Associated Press reports.

Sigmar Gabriel told world leaders and defense officials at the Munich Security Conference that with the U.S. no longer the only indisputable superpower, it makes sense to count on traditional partners in Europe, who share similar values, for help.

At the same time, he said, it is clear that European nations also need the U.S. if they want to "shape the future and not just endure."

"Our strength in Europe is not sufficient for this. Neither the EU nor the U.S. can go it alone. We have to count on our friends and our partners," he said.

Europe also needs to work together better itself, Gabriel said, adding that the EU needs both the tools and a common strategy to effectively assert its interests globally. He said that while Europe can't rest simply on a military strategy, it also can't ignore the military and defense spending.

"As the only vegetarian, we would have a problem in the world of carnivores," he said.

No country in Europe has benefited as much from American help as Germany since World War II, Gabriel said, adding that "we eagerly learned" principles of democracy, multilateralism, international law and free trade from the relationship with the U.S.

"Maybe this can explain why we Germans in particular are so perturbed when we look across the Atlantic — because we no longer recognize our America," he said. "Is it deeds, is it words, is it tweets we should look at to measure America?"

He urged a return to greater joint cooperation, saying now is not the time for "just pursuing individual national interests."

But instead he suggested the U.S. was going in the opposite direction, drifting toward approaches taken from powers like China and Russia who are "constantly trying to test or undermine" the EU.

"It is one thing from possible rivals or competitors, but from our friends and partners we expect that they will respect the unity of the EU," he said. "No one should try to divide the EU, not Russia, not China, but also not the United States." lk/14:06

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