Germany′s Heiko Maas demands ′minimum degree of reliability′ from Donald Trump | News | DW | 18.07.2018
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Germany's Heiko Maas demands 'minimum degree of reliability' from Donald Trump

Germany's top diplomat said international policymaking is burdensome when the US president's words have a "half-life of 24 hours." Maas said he was unconvinced by Trump's attempts to backtrack on his Helsinki remarks.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Wednesday spoke out over US President Donald Trump's attempts to backtrack on comments he made during Monday's Helsinki press conference with Vladimir Putin.

Maas said Germany and other western allies demanded a "minimum degree of reliability" from Trump and his foreign policy.

"It is, quite simply, extremely difficult to craft policies when the information or facts have a half-life of 24 hours. This will not work," Berlin's top diplomat added after meeting with his Chilean counterpart, Roberto Ampuero.

"This also seems to be the unanimous opinion within the United States," he added.

Maas' criticism of Trump comes after the president on Tuesday backtracked on remarks he made during Monday's press conference with Putin. Standing next to the Russian president, Trump cast doubt over his country's intelligence agencies' assessment that Russia had meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. "I don't see any reason why it would be," the president said.

On Tuesday, Trump said he had reviewed the transcripts of his Helsinki statements and explained that he had misspoken. "I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn't,'" Trump told White House reporters. "The sentence should have been, 'I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia,'" the president said.

Read more: US-German relations: Foreign Minister Heiko Maas 'playing with fire'

Maas: Trump's backtracking 'unconvincing'

Maas criticized the US president once again on Wednesday in an interview with the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland newspaper group.

Asked to assess Trump's reversal of remarks, Maas was quoted as saying: "This is apparently an attempt at damage limitation. It doesn't appear particularly convincing."

Germany's foreign minister went on to say he regretted that Trump didn't backtrack on his most recent criticisms of the European Union — which he described as a foe — shortly before setting off for Helsinki.

"Trump's European trip overall showed that his behavior is a big challenge for diplomacy," Maas said.

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dm/jm (dpa, AP)

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