Politics

Merkel disputes Trump’s NATO debt claim

Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke during a joint press conference with President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House.

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel is underlining Germany’s rejection of a claim by President Donald Trump that it owes NATO large sums for underspending on defense. She is also pointing to a history of decades of post-World War II military restraint.

Trump tweeted Saturday that ‘‘Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO.’’ Germany is short of a NATO target of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense, with the figure currently at 1.23 percent.

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Merkel said Monday defense spending is ‘‘not just about contributions to NATO, but also about European contributions in Africa for example, U.N. missions.’’ She added: ‘‘Not a single NATO member state pays its entire defense budget into NATO.’’

Merkel said that defense spending ‘‘can’t be uncoupled from historical developments from one day to the next.’’

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