On the sidelines of a joint press meeting with the new Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Michael Georg Link, Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin today (11 July) on transatlantic relations:
Our decision to ask the local representative of the US intelligence services to leave Germany is the right decision, a necessary step, and an appropriate response to the breach of trust that has occurred.
Drawing consequences from this was unavoidable. We need and expect a partnership that is based on trust. We want to foster an open exchange of views with the United States which, as has been the case in the past, does not shy from difficult issues.
I would like to add, however, that given the many crises in the world – Iran, Ukraine, the Middle East, Afghanistan, and I am not even enumerating all of them – there is a need for transatlantic cooperation, perhaps now even more than ever – with America as a partner.
It would be an illusion to think that we could defuse the conflicts and work out political solutions without close cooperation with the US. This cooperation has to rest not only on trust, but also on mutual respect.
There is, in my view, no alternative to our partnership with the US – despite the incidents of the past weeks, which were disturbing and led to yesterday’s decision. We want to reinvigorate our partnership and friendship on an honest basis. We, at any rate, are prepared to do so.
This will also be the message that I convey to my American colleague, John Kerry, when I meet him in Vienna at the weekend.