Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Defense Secretary Austin in transatlantic mission with German counterpart

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On the image Defense Secretary, Lloyd J. Austin poses with Chargée d’affaires Robin Quinville and Defense Attaché, Captain Mike Wenke and other embassy staff members. Picture by State Department, US Embassy in Germany.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021, Berlin, Germany: The first personal meeting between German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and US Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin focused on current challenges in security and defence policy. The political focus lied on the transatlantic relationship, the role of NATO, the engagement in the Indo-Pacific, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and joint operations.

The retired Army General was the first member of the new Biden administration to visit Germany for a personal meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to chart the course of the new US administration and to discuss a new transatlantic agenda in the field of security and defence policy.

Both parties emphasised the long friendship and partnership between Germany and the USA. German and American soldiers stand side by side in many missions.

Kramp-Karrenbauer welcomed the relaunch of the transatlantic security and defence policy. The current challenges require more than ever a joint shoulder-to-shoulder approach. Germany is aware of its central role in the future orientation of NATO.

“I am particularly pleased about the intention of my US counterpart not to reduce the US forces in Germany any further, but even to increase them by about 500 additional forces,” Kramp-Karrenbauer emphasised. The US soldiers are planned for the United States European Command. The two defence ministers agreed that in view of the current Russian exercise activities and troop movements in the border region with Ukraine, they wanted to proceed in a coordinated and joint manner.

Kramp-Karrenbauer and Austin explored cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. “This region is becoming increasingly important for international stability,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer as per statement below.  Germany also has vital interests there.

The deployment of the frigate “Bayern” in the second half of 2021 is a sign of the visible implementation of the Indo-Pacific policy of the German government. Germany is seeking close dialogue with the USA. The goal is a sustainable engagement beyond 2021.

The German Defence Minister and the American Defense Secretary considered a withdrawal from Afghanistan by 30 April 2021 to be unrealistic. Germany would coordinate closely with the USA and all other troop contributors on how to proceed.

Secretary Austin’s was accompanied to his meetings by the US top envoy in Germany, Robin Quinville, and the republic’s Defense Attaché, Captain Mike Wenke

For further information:  

US Defense Department: https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Transcripts/Transcript/Article/2571843/us-secretary-of-defense-and-german-defense-minister-joint-press-conference-germ/

German Ministry of Defence: https://www.bmvg.de/de/aktuelles/us-amtskollege-austin-besuch-kramp-karrenbauer-5054716

US Embassy in Germany (Chargée d’affaires Robin Quinville): https://de.usembassy.gov/2021-04-secretary-of-defense-austin-meets-german-defense-minister-kramp-karrenbauer/

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