Ratas and Reinsalu: Reduction of US forces in Germany is worrying
On Thursday, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) and foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said the partial withdrawal of United States troops from Germany is not good news and is worrying.
ERR News wrote on Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump announced Monday the U.S. would be halving the number of American personnel in Germany, from the current 52,000 to 25,000, citing Berlin's reluctance to contribute more to NATO funding as the reason behind the decision.
Reinsalu said at a government press conference: "It is in Estonia's interests that U.S. troops are not taken from Europe, but instead more are brought in. The withdrawal of U.S. military from Europe is not a trend of President Trump's. The trend has unfortunately shifted during the last generation. And we take it as a trend that we don't like."
Reinsalu added: "We will certainly discuss this with U.S. representatives, we will discuss it with our allies in Europe to see where it will go. But it is not good news. We would like to see it reversed, that more troops would be brought to Europe."
The foreign minister said this does not mean NATO's collective defence will collapse.
Reinsalu said: "Units have their militaristic and discouraging reasons, and if they are now relocated, then it will lead to changes in other areas. How? When? We have no further information. All we have is the readiness to cooperate with the President of the U.S."
He thinks there are positive developments for Estonian forces, such as the operation of MQ-9 Reaper drones in Estonia.
Ratas said transatlantic relations are of fundamental importance to the security of Estonia and Europe: "This news is worrying."
Ratas added: "Our desire is that we could see a bigger footprint from the U.S. Our goal is comprehensive cooperation with the U.S. and NATO. Our goal is to increase their presence and the amount of exercises in our region. So this is worrying. The U.S. presence in Europe is extremely important."
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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste