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21 March 2017, 12:08 | Terri Saunders
Military Costs by Country Shouldn't Matter for NATO or US, Germany Insists
Loyalties between allies shouldn't rest exclusively on military spending, Germany's defense minister said Friday as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepared to meet in Washington with President Donald Trump for the first time.
Trump tweeted the words just a day after his meeting with German Chancellor Merkel in Washington, where according to German media, the two had a "Not warm, but not distant" meeting.
"There is no debt account at Nato", Ms von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance's target for members to spend two per cent of their economic output on defence by 2024 exclusively to Nato.
The instruction was non-binding, and some members - including Germany - ignored it. Von der Leyen, the defense minister who rebuked Trump, told German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle at the time that she saw no need for Germany to meet the commitment, as it was already the alliance's second-largest military contributor.
According to Leyen, the nation's defense spending goes into UN peacekeeping missions, European missions as well as into the fight against IS terrorism, making it hard to shell out more for the alliance.
German defense spending is set to increase by 1.4 billion euros to 38.5 billion euros in 2018, Reuters reported.
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German government have committed to the target by 2024.
Trump has not been the only American official to be critical of Germany and other European allies.
"Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years, and it is very unfair to the United States".
Trump had made European defense spending an issue during his election campaign, saying the United States - which spends just over three percent of its GDP on defense - carries too much of the financial burden for supporting North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. "Americans can not care more for your children's security than you do". But members Canada, Slovenia, Belgium, Spain and Luxembourg still spend less than 1 percent of GDP on defense. "America will meet its responsibilities, but if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to the alliance, each of your capitals needs to show its support for our common defense".
Von der Leyen proposed using an "activity index" that would take participation in foreign missions into account when assessing budget earmarks for defence.
Secret Service Laptop Containing Sensitive Info Stolen in NY
This is just the second scandal this week for the Secret Service, which has been the center of several mishaps in recent years. On Friday, the Secret Service released the following statement confirming the theft and stating the laptop is super secure.