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Spokesman: Merkel Remains Committed to Strong Trans-Atlantic Ties

By VOA News May 29, 2017

German Chancellor Angela Merkel remains committed to strong trans-Atlantic relations, her spokesman said Monday, after the German leader suggested that the United States is no longer a reliable partner.

"Because trans-Atlantic relations are so important to this chancellor, it is right from her viewpoint to speak out honestly about differences," spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday during a news conference.

"The times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over, as I have experienced in the past few days," Merkel said, addressing a campaign rally in Bavaria.

Merkel, among other European leaders, was sharply critical of U.S. President Donald Trump's decision at the recent G-7 meeting in Sicily not to reiterate support for the 2015 Paris agreement to combat climate change. In a pared down final communique, all G-7 nations except the U.S. pledged action to mitigate climate change. Merkel has said the climate agreement is so important there should not be any compromise on it.

While acknowledging that Germany and Europe should strive to maintain good relations with the U.S. as well as Britain, which is leaving the European Union, Merkel also said, "We need to know we must fight for our own future as Europeans for our destiny."

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