The US and German leaders will discuss funding for NATO and relations with Russia in their first meeting since Trump took office on January 20 as US president.

US President Donald Trump (L) meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the first time on Friday, March 17, 2017.
US President Donald Trump (L) meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the first time on Friday, March 17, 2017.

US President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold his first face-to-face meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday at the White House.

Their agenda is expected to include bilateral relations, US relations with the EU and Russia, and funding for NATO.

Merkel, who has never met Trump, had close relations with his Democratic and Republican predecessors, Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

"Obama and Merkel were very similar kinds of personalities. Very analytical, cool and business-like. They didn't like a lot of show or drama, both of them had no drama. Now she's dealing with someone who's close to people like Putin, Berlusconi, more macho kinds of leaders and she knows how to deal with these kinds of people." said Stephen Szabo, Executive Director Transatlantic Academy.

While she is likely to seek a strong working relationship with Trump, the two leaders differ on policies from immigration to the EU to NATO.

Merkel is likely to press Trump for assurances of support for a strong EU and NATO and a commitment to fight climate change. Their attitudes to Russian President Vladimir Putin could well expose differences between the West's two most powerful leaders.

Trump criticised Merkel during his presidential campaign for providing refuge for thousands of people fleeing the Syrian war. He also accused European countries of not paying enough for NATO, and his budget released this week decimated US federal funds for environmental protection. Meetings between his aides and Russians during the US election campaign have dogged his presidency since they were revealed.

TRT World's Harry Horton in Washington DC has this preview of the highly anticipated meeting.

Merkel comes prepared

Merkel is said to have prepared meticulously for her first meeting with the US president.

German officials say she's pored over Trump's speeches and interviews, even as far back as a 1990 interview with Playboy.

She's also analysed his recent encounters with other leaders from Britain, Canada, and Japan.

One German official said Merkel has been coached on the idea that Trump prefers to hear clear positions with few details.

They also said he doesn't like to listen to long conversations.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies