Pence tells European Union officials more cooperation needed in terrorism fight
- Author: Leroy Wright Feb 21, 2017,
Feb 21, 2017, 18:09
"In reply to these three matters", Tusk said, "I heard today from Vice President Pence three times "yes"!"
Mr Tusk said Europe counted on the "unequivocal" support of the USA, but added: "Too much has happened over the past month in your country and in the European Union. for us to pretend that everything is as it used to be".
But Pence sought to ease European concerns after a weekend spent at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.
America, Russia and China are working to weaken Europe because "if Europe unites, in the long term, it will become the most important world power", French writer and economist Jacques Attali said in a recent interview with euractiv.com.
He asserted: "The idea of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is not obsolete, just like the values which lie at its foundation are not obsolete".
But he sounded a note of caution, adding: "After such a positive declaration, both Europeans and Americans must simply practise what they preach".
Pence said that while the USA was bound by NATO's article five, which says that an attack on one member would be considered an attack on all, he reminded the audience that article three contained a commitment to sharing the financial burden, echoing Trump's warning past year that he did not feel bound to come to the defence of countries that did not pay their share. In 2014, all 28 member countries agreed to pay 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense within the decade. Aside from the US, only Greece, the U.K., Estonia and Poland shell out more than 2 percent of GDP on defense. But he underlined the USA has grown tired of allies not keeping their commitments on defense spending.
Mr Pence was in Brussels at the end of a European trip aimed at reassuring allies fearful that US President Donald Trump might abandon them. While Washington will "continue to hold Russian Federation accountable" for events in Ukraine, Pence said the U.S. leadership will "pray for peace" and urged "both sides to abide by the ceasefire that began today".
"Let us discuss everything, starting with financial commitments - but only to strengthen our solidarity, never to weaken it", Tusk said in response to Mattis.
"And the truth is that we have in President Trump someone who has a unique ability to speak directly to the American people", Pence continued.
"There is no question of allowing the fragmentation of the European Union".
It was the vice president's first time speaking about President Trump's asking retired Lt. Gen. Flynn to resign as national security adviser.
Pence will also meet European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
On Feb. 13, the White House said Trump had accepted Flynn's resignation amid allegations the retired three-star general discussed US sanctions strategy with Russia's ambassador to Washington before Trump's inauguration.
That may be because Pence is reportedly playing a lead role in the selection to replace Flynn.
"It was the proper decision, it was handled properly and in a timely way".