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UPDATE 1-Berlin welcomes freeze of U.S. troop reduction in Germany

UPDATE 1-Berlin welcomes freeze of U.S. troop reduction in Germany

· 02/05/2021 07:08
UPDATE 1-Berlin welcomes freeze of U.S. troop reduction in Germany

Adds more reactions from Germany, background on halted troop reduction

- The German government welcomed U.S. President Joe Biden's announcement that his administration would suspend any planned troop withdrawals from Germany in another sign of thawing relations between Washington and Berlin.

"We have always been convinced that the deployment of American troops in Germany serves European and transatlantic security," Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular news conference on Friday, adding that the decades-long cooperation with U.S. forces was highly valuable.

Biden announced on Thursday that his administration would stop any planned troop reduction in Germany pending a global review of military deployment by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Under Biden's predecessor Donald Trump, the Pentagon announced in July that it would withdraw about 12,000 of the then 36,000 troops from Germany, in fallout from Trump's long-simmering feud with Berlin over failing to meet NATO's defence spending target.

Southern and western Germany was once dotted with U.S. military installations, many of which dated back to the end of World War Two, when international allies defeated Nazi Germany.

The number of U.S. troops in Germany is now just a fraction of what it used to be at the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

But the Pentagon still maintains several important installations in Germany, including Ramstein Air Base, which serves as a gateway for U.S. troops to Europe and the Middle East.


(Reporting by Thomas Seythal; editing by Kirsti Knolle and Maria Sheahan)

((berlin.newsroom(at)thomsonreuters.com; +49 30 2201 33599;))