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Pompeo: Germany ‘great, important partner’ of US

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Germany, on May 31, 2019. (Ron Przysucha/U.S. State Department)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has described Germany as “a great, important partner and ally of the United States,” during talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on May 31.

Pompeo’s visit had been scheduled earlier this month, but was called off at the last minute as tensions rose over Iran.

Berlin and Washington differ over a number of issues, including how to contain Iran’s nuclear program, NATO defense spending, and the Nord Stream 2 project between Germany and Russia.

“The U.S. is and remains our most important partner outside Europe,” Merkel told reporters ahead of the meeting.

Pompeo earlier discussed Iran with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who told the U.S. diplomat that Germany had the “same goals” as the United States.

Berlin, Maas said, wanted to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons but that it had “different approaches.”

Germany, one of the signatories of the 2015 landmark pact with Iran, is trying to save the deal which the United States abandoned last year. The U.S. has also increased pressure on Iran with economic sanctions.

After meeting with Maas, Pompeo said Washington would not object to a system that Europeans are developing to shield companies from U.S. sanctions if they deal with Iran, so long as the focus is on providing humanitarian aid and other permitted goods.

On other matters, Pompeo declined to comment on whether Washington would impose sanctions on German companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

“We never discuss sanctions before we roll them out,” he said.

Washington has warned that the pipeline would deepen European dependence on Russian energy.