Press Briefing by Senior Administration Officials on the Upcoming Visit of Chancellor Merkel The level of interaction between this administration and the German government has so far been frequent and robust.
BigNews.Biz - Mar 11,2017 - Background Press Briefing by Senior Administration Officials on the Upcoming Visit of Chancellor Merkel of Germany
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
10:32 A.M. EST
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I'd like to welcome all of you to this backgrounder. I'd like to start off by setting the ground rules if I can. So this is going to be backgrounder only. Attribution is going to be senior administration officials. And anything that goes on in this room is embargoed until we walk out of the room to allow us to get you the best information that we can.
We're going to start with a brief statement and then we'll move to a Q&A. So you can address -- we're going to introduce everybody. You can address your question up here and we'll figure out who the best person is to answer you.
So, again, thanks for being here. And I'll start off by allowing everyone to introduce themselves.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: So I'll start with just a quick statement here to lay out some of the context for this visit. So the President is very much looking forward to welcoming Chancellor Merkel to the White House on Tuesday. This will be their first meeting, and the Chancellor's first visit to the United States in over two years.
The level of interaction between this administration and the German government has so far been frequent and robust. To name just a few interactions, Vice President Pence met the Chancellor last month in Munich. The German foreign and defense ministers were here last month as well. Secretary Tillerson was in Bonn for the G20 Foreign Ministerial last month, and Secretaries Mattis and Kelly attended the Munich Security Conference. So we're very pleased with the level of interaction so far, and we trust that this will continue.
When he meets the Chancellor, the President will express his and the American people's appreciation for the deep friendship that exists between the United States and Germany. We share so much history, and the bonds between our people are strong. Germany is one of our most important allies and partners in the world, and we cooperate with the Germans on everything from counterterrorism to European security to generating strong economic growth.
Germany is one of NATO's strongest member states, and the President looks forward to talking with the Chancellor about how to strengthen the NATO alliance, including by ensuring that all allies shoulder the proper share of the burden for maintaining our collective defense. Every ally has to meet its commitments -- something we know the German government believes as well. So we are heartened by the German government's determination to reach NATO's benchmark of committing 2 percent of GDP to defense by 2024.
The President is impressed by Chancellor Merkel's leadership at a time when the states of the North Atlantic face a number of significant challenges, and he looks forward to consulting with her on our shared challenges.
We recognize, in particular, Germany's