Defense Minister von der Leyen Meets with Defense Secretary Mattis at Pentagon

Feb 10, 2017

Von der Leyen and Mattis at Pentagon Enlarge image Defense Minster Von der Leyen was greeted with military honors. (© picture alliance / Thomas Imo/ German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis both confirmed the German-American bond in their meeting on Friday, February 10. Minister von der Leyen was greeted with military honors as she arrived at the Pentagon in Arlington, VA, for the meeting, her first with her new US counterpart.

Minister von der Leyen said she viewed the early timing of the visit as a sign of the strong German-American friendship. Secretary Mattis, a former general, spoke of his great respect for the German Armed Forces.

After the meeting, von der Leyen said she was pleased to hear how convinced and convincingly Mattis stated how he stands on NATO. She also welcomed his offer to continue strategic discussions.

Pentagon meeting Enlarge image Pentagon meeting (© picture alliance / Gregor Fische) “It was very gratifying at the end of our discussion to receive the offer to deepen these strategic discussions on a regular basis,” von der Leyen said to the press. “We will do that. It is helpful for us in Germany. It is helpful, hopefully, for our American friends. Above all it is crucial that we in the alliance speak with one voice.” 

Both Germany and the United States agree on their position on Russia, the minister said: While it is clear that they can’t solve pressing problems, like the difficult situation in Syria, without Russia, they expect Russia to respect international law and to respect the borders of sovereign states.