Defense Secretary James N. Mattis met with German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen at the Pentagon yesterday to reaffirm the long-standing defense relationship between the United States and Germany, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said.
In a statement summarizing the meeting, White said the two leaders discussed a broad range of defense issues, and that Mattis thanked von der Leyen for her country’s commitment to NATO, the coalition to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and the United Nations. “They discussed German efforts to increase defense spending and agreed on the need for all allies to focus on readiness and investments,” she added.
Mattis praised Germany for its leadership across the alliance and congratulated her on Germany’s recent election to the United Nations Security Council, White said.
Powerful Moral Voice
“Today, we welcome you and your delegation as representatives from one of the world’s most respected nations — a nation that speaks with a powerful moral voice on a range of issues — and we thank you for exercising that voice in support of our NATO alliance, leading by example in Afghanistan, where Germany has determined to increase forces by 30 percent,” Mattis told his counterpart in a welcoming ceremony before their meeting. He noted Germany’s position as the framework nation in Afghanistan’s north and as host for NATO’s new logistics command, as well as its contributions to NATO’s enhanced forward presence mission in Lithuania.
Germany hosts the largest U.S. troop presence in Europe and the second largest in the world, Mattis said, and he thanked von der Leyen for her nation’s hospitality to our U.S. forces and their families.
“I also note Germany’s material and financial support for the U.N. stability mission in Mali, as well as France’s G-5 Sahel joint force supporting the counterterrorism mission in North Africa,” Mattis said. “Germany’s responsible voice carries great weight. Where it’s exemplified, we see a unity of shared democratic values from Europe to the Far East.”