Germany anxiously awaitsword on US troop withdrawal

16th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

16 August 2004, BERLIN - Germany was anxiously awaiting an announcement expected Monday from President George W. Bush on a withdrawal of US troops from Germany, where the proximity of American bases has been a key economic factor for many communities since World War II ended. A spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry would only say that the German viewpoint had been taken into account during the drafting of the US plans for "reposturing" American forces worldwide. She said there had been "permanent" consultat

16 August 2004

BERLIN - Germany was anxiously awaiting an announcement expected Monday from President George W. Bush on a withdrawal of US troops from Germany, where the proximity of American bases has been a key economic factor for many communities since World War II ended.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry would only say that the German viewpoint had been taken into account during the drafting of the US plans for "reposturing" American forces worldwide.

She said there had been "permanent" consultations, which had also extended to the states concerned.

This followed remarks Sunday by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who said, "We've talked to the Germans about that and some numbers. They are doing the same thing. They are also re-adjusting their forces and they understand that," Rumsfeld said.

His statement during a visit to St. Petersburg, Russia that "there will be a shift from Germany" was the highest-level confirmation of the plans before the Bush speech to be delivered to US veterans in Cincinnati, Ohio.

"We most likely will wind up with much more forces in the United States," Rumsfeld said. "This will play out over a period of years."

There are more than 100,000 US troops in Europe, including 73,000 personnel in Germany. The US bases, in the southern half of Germany, aslo include 100,000 dependents and support personnel.

At the end of the Second World War in 1945, US occupation forces seized Nazi-era military facilities and rebuilt them to serve the new trans-Atlantic alliance. In 1989, there were 250,000 US military personnel in Germany.

In cutbacks since then, many communities withered.

From money spent with local merchants to the rents paid to local real-estate owners, the benefits from a nearby US presence has prompted mayors and state premiers to try and persuade the Pentagon to stay.

The Germans have not questioned the strategic reasons for moving the troops, but have argued that southern Germany offers one of the most cost-effective locations in Europe.

The Pentagon advised German officials this year that it was thinking about removing two army divisions from Germany and replacing them with smaller training and command facilities and mobile infantry units.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

0 Comments To This Article