German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not receive any bill during the meeting with US President Donald Trump for money Germany allegedly owed to NATO, told a German government spokesperson on Monday.
On Sunday, The Times reported, citing German government sources, that a certain bill for NATO defense was handed over to Merkel during private talks with Trump in Washington on March 17.
“The reports about the mentioned invoice or bill are wrong. Chancellor Merkel and President Trump discussed the topic of defense expenditure during their talks in Washington. They informed the public about these talks in a press conference,” the government spokesperson said.
On March 18, following the meeting with Merkel, Trump wrote on Twitter that Germany owed “vast sums of money” to NATO. On Friday, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen criticized the US leader for his controversial remark stressing that “there is no debt account in the Alliance.”
The issue of the contributions to the alliance has been raised repeatedly by the new US administration, insisting on all countries honoring their NATO budget responsibilities.
The target of spending two percent of the GDP mandated by NATO was adopted at the Alliance’s September 2014 Summit in Wales, with only five countries, including the United States, meeting the required standard, according to NATO figures.
Merkel has repeatedly said that Berlin will fulfill its commitments concerning the military spending through 2024.