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    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.

    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.’’