German Regional Leaders Appeal to U.S. Lawmakers to Keep Troops

Four German state leaders whose regions host most U.S. troops based in the country asked lawmakers in Washington to stymie President Donald Trump’s plan to withdraw about 9,500 service members, a newspaper reported.

The letter was sent Friday to 13 members of the Senate and the House of Representatives on defense and security-related committees, or who have expressed opposition to Trump’s decision, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported. The senators include Utah Republican Mitt Romney and Delaware Democrat Chris Coons.

The letter said the U.S. troop presence in Germany is important for geopolitical reasons and for the bilateral trans-Atlantic partnership, according to the report. It was signed by the premiers of Bavaria, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate, western German states that have had major U.S. troop bases since the aftermath of World War II.

Romney and Coons are among the senators who introduced an amendment to the fiscal 2021 defense spending bill in June that would limit the use funds to reduce the U.S. troop presence in Germany.

“The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Germany would be a gift to Russia, and that’s the last thing we should be doing,” Romney said in a statement at the time.

German lawmakers and government officials havecriticized Trump’s decision, which emerged in early June and would cut U.S. forces in Germany by slightly more than a quarter.

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