June 28, 2018 / 7:53 AM / 8 months ago

NATO is central to Germany's defense despite tensions, Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the German lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Mang

BERLIN (Reuters) - NATO remains of central importance to Germany’s defense despite tensions within the alliance, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.

In May, president Donald Trump singled out Germany as a member of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation that was not doing enough to contribute fully to the organization.

“It is no secret that the transatlantic alliance is under strain at the moment but we are convinced that the alliance remains central to our common security,” Merkel said in a speech to parliament.

She also warned that Europe must keep talking to the U.S. to avoid a trade war.

Trump threatened earlier this month to escalate a trade standoff with Europe by imposing a 20 percent tariff on all U.S. imports of European Union-assembled cars.

Merkel also said an offer to Russia of a dialogue on ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine remains on the table.

Reporting by Madeline Chambers, writing by Riham Alkousaa, editing by Thomas Escritt

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