After five months without contact, Merkel tries to reset relationship with Trump

Vastavam web: Before a phone conversation this week to discuss the war in Syria and Russian nuclear arms, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump had not spoken to each other in over five months.That gap, described by diplomats on both sides of the Atlantic as shockingly long, underscores the challenge Merkel faces if she succeeds in forming a coalition government later this month and, as German officials suggest, tries to reset the relationship with Trump.

At a time of rising transatlantic tensions over trade, the Iran nuclear deal and NATO defence spending, some German officials and analysts worry the personal divide between the brash, impulsive president and cautious, analytical chancellor could lead to a further deterioration in bilateral ties.Jan Techau, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund think tank in Berlin, described the five month gap in contact between the leaders before Thursday’s phone conversation as a“very very bad sign”. He saw no connection with the conservative chancellor’s struggle to form a new government more than five months after federal elections.Juergen Hardt, a senior lawmaker in Merkel’s Christian Democrat party, said:“Especially in times of stress, when immediate communication is required, they need to be able to pick up the phone and find solutions. There needs to be a good personal relationship and a good working relationship.”