- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Details of President Trump’s announcement to withdraw U.S. forces from Germany have not yet been decided on among allies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday.

Mr. Trump earlier this month ordered the Pentagon to cut thousands of troops by September, a move that experts have warned could deeply impact the historic U.S.-German relationship.

The president doubled down on the move Monday, when he told reporters that he’s prepared to recall about half of the U.S. soldiers stationed in Germany if that nation doesn’t pay more to NATO and treat Washington more fairly on trade issues.

“The U.S. has made it clear that no final decision has been made on how and when,” Mr. Stoltenberg told reporters during a virtual news conference. “It’s not yet decided how and when this decision will be implemented.”

“It’s a bilateral arrangement between the U.S. and Germany, but of course it matters for the whole alliance,” the secretary-general said. “What matters for me is that we maintain credible deterrence and defense and that we maintain the strong link between North America and Europe.”

The move would reduce by about 28% the number of U.S. military personnel in the country, pulling back 9,500 from the 34,500 who are now there. There has also been speculation some of the forces in Germany could be redeployed in Poland and elsewhere in Europe closer to Russia.

The U.S. ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, said she wasn’t aware of preparations for any possible troop withdrawal.

“Any kind of actual planning, I think, has not happened yet,” Hutchison told reporters at a video news conference Tuesday. “I don’t think that we have any kind of timeline that we have heard of.”

She described Germany as “a good partner” of the United States at NATO and said that “it should not be thought that there is any walking away from Europe, and Germany.”

The NATO allies are expected to convene in a virtual conference on Wednesday, when the issue is set to be discussed.

• This article was based in part on wire service reports.

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