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Thursday, August 01, 2019, 14:38
US envoy slams Germany after reluctance on Hormuz mission
By Reuters
Thursday, August 01, 2019, 14:38 By Reuters

In this May 31, 2019, photo, US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell awaits the arrival of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (not in frame) at Tegel airport in Berlin. (ODD ANDERSEN / AFP)

BERLIN — The US ambassador to Germany launched a scathing attack on Chancellor Angela Merkel's government on Thursday for its reluctance to join a naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz, saying Europe's biggest economy must assume more global responsibility. 

Relations between the United States and Germany have soured since US President Donald Trump took office, due to disagreements on a range of issues from defense spending to trade tariffs, the NordStream 2 gas pipeline and Iran. 

US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell expressed frustration after Germany's foreign minister ruled out German participation in a planned US-led naval mission to the Strait of Hormuz

On Wednesday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas ruled out German participation in a planned US-led naval mission to the Strait of Hormuz, close to Iran, after the US said it had made a formal request. He said Germany wanted to ease tensions with Iran and everything should be done to avoid an escalation. 

READ MORE: Germany 'very sceptical' about joining US' Hormuz mission

Expressing frustration about that decision, Ambassador Richard Grenell said Germany had a duty to fulfil and told the Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper: 

"Germany is the biggest economic power in Europe. This success brings global responsibilities." 

He said the United States had been trying to get support from Germany for weeks for the military mission in the Strait of Hormuz, and that while one minister spoke of looking at the requests, the foreign minister had rejected it. 

Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer had said in Brussels that Germany was "reviewing" the request, striking a softer tone than Maas. 

On the front line of the Cold War, West Germany was one of the United States' closest allies, embraced as a bulwark against Communism after the World War Two defeat of Nazi rule. 

"America has sacrificed a lot to help Germany remain part of the West," Grenell told the newspaper, adding Americans were paying huge sums for 34,000 soldiers to be stationed in Germany. 

Grenell has courted controversy since arriving in Berlin last year with his outspoken views and criticism of Germany. 

ALSO READ: Britain calls for European naval mission to counter Iran's 'piracy'

On another issue that has caused friction, a US Senate committee on Wednesday passed a bill to slap sanctions on companies, including several German firms, and individuals involved in building the NordStream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

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