Sunday, 16 June 2019

German Chancellor Merkel wins applause confronting Pence

Photo by: Michael Kappeler/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images/File

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel advocated preserving the Iranian nuclear treaty and multilateralism, while US Vice President Mike Pence rolled out demands to European allies, including a demand to pull out of the 2015 JCPOA and ditch Russian gas.

Merkel’s speech clashed dramatically with Pence’s during the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

In an “uncharacteristically passionate speech,” Merkel condemned the recent unilateral moves made by the United States – without naming the nation – The New York Times report reads.

Merkel berated US President Donald Trump for leaving the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), a move that most military observers consider directly affects European security.

“We sit there in the middle with the result,” she said, according to the New York Times.

She criticized the US stance toward the Nord Stream 2 international gas pipeline.

“We imported large amounts of Russian gas [during the Cold War],” she said. “I don’t know why times should be so much worse today.”

“Do we want to make Russia only dependent on China? Is that our European interest?” she asked, adding, “I don’t think so.”

In contrast, Pence, who spoke immediately after, demanded that the EU abandon the 2015 Joint Cooperative Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal, as the US did, as well as rolling out a number of other demands on European allies.

“The time has come for the Europeans to leave the Iranian nuclear deal,” Pence declared, adding, “the Iranian regime openly advocates another holocaust, and it seeks the means to achieve it.”

Pence reiterated the Trump demands that EU and NATO members increase military spending, while praising the US president for “showing renewed American leadership in the world” in his belligerence toward China and North Korea.

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