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German Defense Minister Issues Warning To Trump

| by Sheena Vasani

Germany's Defense Minister issued a series of warnings aimed at President Donald Trump at the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 17.

In her speech, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen cautioned the U.S. to tread carefully while trying to improve relations with Russia, making sure to not betray allies, reports The Washington Post.

"There can be no policy of equidistance between allies on one side and those who on the other question our borders, our values and the principles of international law," von der Leyen said at the Munich Security Conference. "We must pursue finding a reliable coexistence with Russia together instead of going over our partners' heads in a bilateral relationship."

"Our American friends know well that your tone on Europe and NATO has a direct impact on the cohesion of our continent," von der Leyen said, The Associated Press reports. "A stable European Union is also in America's interest, as is a strong and unified NATO."

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While she did not name Trump specifically, she also warned the U.S. not to turn the fight against terrorism into a war against Islam and Muslims.

"We must beware of turning this fight into one against Islam and Muslims per se," she said. "Otherwise we run the risk of deepening the trenches from which terrorism grows."

In the past, Trump alarmed many European leaders after calling NATO "obsolete." Yet it is a stance he has appeared to backtrack on since then, emphasizing the alliance's "fundamental importance."

However, Trump is still adamant that other NATO members contribute more financially to defense or risk losing some of America's support.

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"President Trump came into office and has thrown now his full support to NATO," Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said after von der Leyen spoke. "It is a fair demand that all who benefit from the best alliance in the world carry their proportionate share of the necessary costs to defend our freedoms."

Sources: The Washington PostAP via SF Gate / Photo credit: Laurence Chaperon via Wikimedia Commons

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