Germany's foreign minister has described the trans-Atlantic relationship as pivotal, saying: "We cannot do without the US." He is on a mission to revive relations as Washington continues to distance itself from allies.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Wednesday said he is seeking "new cooperation" as he heads to the US in a bid to revive the trans-Atlantic relationship.
"We cannot do without the US," Maas said prior to departing. "We therefore want to strengthen our partnership and, where necessary, reposition it."
Maas is scheduled to meet with his opposite number Mike Pompeo and discuss a range of topics, including the fight against the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group, the conflict in Afghanistan and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
US President Donald Trump has pledged to withdraw the US from Syria and significantly decrease troops in Afghanistan, moves that Berlin has criticized as premature.
On the INF, the White House has threatened to withdraw from the Soviet-era treaty, which was pivotal for nuclear disarmament towards the end of the Cold War. But Washington has hit out at Moscow for allegedly violating the treaty with its Iskander-M 9M729 nuclear-capable missiles.
Before his departure, Foreign Minister Maas called on Moscow to "verifiably rid itself of the prohibited cruise missile. It remains important for us to coordinate closely within NATO — that also applies to a possible future without the INF."
"I have spoken to my Russian colleague about it and told him we're banking on Russia correcting its violations of the treaty and disarming its cruise missiles so that the INF treaty still has a chance," Maas added.
Germany's relations with the US have taken a notable downturn under Trump. The US president has described German trade policy as "very bad" and called on Berlin to spend more on defense to meet NATO's non-binding targets.
In October, Trump took things further when talking about trade policy, saying "nobody treats us much worse than the European Union."
"The European Union was formed in order to take advantage of us on trade, and that's what they've done," Trump said in a televised interview. The EU was in fact formed, with US assistance and encouragement, in a bid to prevent a repeat of the first and second World Wars, partly by fostering such deep trade ties between members as to render future wars pointless.
In January, DW broke the news that without warning, the US State Department had downgraded the EU delegation's diplomatic status from member state to international organization, triggering fury from European officials and US lawmakers alike.