Merkel ally: U.S. decision to withdraw troops from Germany weakens NATO

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BERLIN (Reuters) - A senior member of Chancellor Angel Merkel's conservatives has criticised a U.S. decision to withdraw about 12,000 troops from Germany and move its European headquarters to Belgium.

"Instead of strengthening NATO, the troop withdrawal will weaken the alliance," Norbert Roettgen, chairman of the German parliament's foreign affairs committee, told Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper.

"The effectiveness of the U.S. military is not increased but reduced, especially with a view to Russia and ongoing military conflicts in the Middle East," Roettgen added.

The U.S. military said on Wednesday it would move its headquarters out of Stuttgart, Germany to Belgium, as it outlined broader plans to shift 12,000 troops out of Germany on orders from President Donald Trump.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber, Editing by Maria Sheahan)