- Title: Merkel: Germany must boost defence spending, unlikely to meet NATO goal soon
- Date: 23rd November 2016
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (NOVEMBER 23, 2016) (REUTERS) DE MAIZIERE, STEINMEIER AND GABRIEL SEATED
- Embargoed: 8th December 2016 11:51
- Keywords: Germany Merkel NATO Turkey Russia Syria
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Defence,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00459NYN2F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Germany must increase defence spending towards 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday (November 23), but downplayed expectations it would meet this target in the near future.
"Our defence budget shows that we haven't reached the point where we should be if we talk about the expectations of our NATO partners," Merkel said in a speech to the Bundestag lower house of parliament.
"I know we still have a pretty long way to go to reach NATO's 2 percent target for defence spending and I can't promise we will get there in near future. But the direction has to be clear (...) that we approach this target and implement it."
Merkel also addressed recent developments in Turkey, telling parliament "any form of terrorism must be fought against and this is precisely what the German government is doing."
"But this does not justify the limits on press freedom, the arrests of thousands and thousands of people and so we must clearly criticise this while at the same time maintaining dialogue with Turkey."
"But this does not exclude clearly addressing the alarming signs there," Merkel added.
On Syria, Merkel said there were "quite honestly... too many indications that hospitals and medical facilities are being bombed on purpose. If I may, but this is internationally illegal, this must be prosecuted and the Assad regime has to know this. It is very regrettable that Russia supports this system," Merkel said to applause.
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