16:32 GMT +315 December 2019
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    Sahra Wagenknecht of the Left party (Die Linke) delivers a speech at the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) in Berlin on November 23, 2016

    Dissolve NATO and Create Security Union With Russia – German Opposition Leader

    © AFP 2019 / TOBIAS SCHWARZ
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    Amid criticism from incoming US President Donald Trump that NATO is "obsolete," the parliamentary leader of Germany's largest opposition party has called for the military alliance to be dissolved and for the creation of a security union with Russia.

    Sahra Wagenknecht, who leads the opposition Left Party in parliament, said Europe needed to realign its security strategy to include Russia.

    "NATO must be dissolved and replaced by a collective security system including Russia," she told Germany's Funke media group.

    Wagenknecht's comments come amid increasing debate about the role of NATO in the future, and back her views expressed in a separate interview with Sputnik last year, where she called for more dialogue with Russia to improve European security.

    ​"We stand for the idea once offered by Willy Brandt. This is related to the creation of a collective security system, which will proceed from the assumption that that peace and security in Europe is only possible in cooperation with Russia, not without it," Wagenknecht said.

    "Russia should become a member of this new structure. In addition, the focus should be placed on the peaceful resolution of conflicts through dialogue and discussions, something that runs counter to the policy on Russia pursued by Western countries in recent years," she added.

    Trump Raises NATO Concerns for Europe

    Senior EU officials have raised concern at Trump's rhetoric on NATO, which the incoming US leader has accused of being "obsolete," while also calling on European member states to step up their military spending.

    Reflecting the friction between EU states and the new US administration, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Trump's comments on NATO and the lack of European investment in the alliance "caused astonishment."

    ​While many NATO officials, along with those in Europe and the US, see the alliance as being crucial to maintaining Europe's security in the face of a perceived Russian threat, Moscow has long argued that NATO's expansion into Eastern Europe and the Baltics has led to an increase in tensions across the continent. 

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    Tags:
    military alliance, tension, NATO buildup, security, Left Party, NATO, Sahra Wagenknecht, Donald Trump, Germany, Europe, United States, Russia
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