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Pence travels to Europe to reassure transatlantic allies

WASHINGTON, Feb 17:  US Vice-President Mike Pence is travelling to Europe to reassure America’s transatlantic allies about the Trump Administration’s commitment towards their security and enhancement of business ties with them.
“The trip is an opportunity for the Vice President to reassure our allies and our partners, and also to lay out US priorities for the transatlantic relationship on behalf of the President,” a senior White House foreign policy advisor said ahead of the four-day European trip of the Vice President.
Pence would attend the Munich Security Conference opening later today, wherein he is expected to meet several world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Thereafter, he would travel to Brussels for a meeting with leadership of European Union and NATO.
“The trip is going to allow the vice president not only to outline our priorities for the transatlantic relationship, but it’s also going to offer him the opportunity to establish personal relationships with some of the most valued allies and partners,” the official said requesting anonymity.
“He wants to reassure folks that they were here for us on 9/11, with defending in Article 5, and we’re going to be with them as well, so reassurance in that sense, if they need to hear it,” the official said.
According to the official, the first theme of Pence’s trip is reassurance.
“We’re there to reassure Europe’s role both as our indispensable partner and the commitment to our allies and our (inaudible). So you’re going to hear that theme both at the Munich Security Conference and as we travel to Brussels and meet with the EU and NATO representatives,” the official said.
“You’re going to hear the theme of…The need for greater burden sharing by our NATO allies, to ensure that we have the capabilities, that NATO has the capabilities, to defend against the threats we face. So the burden sharing, you’ll hear that multiple times,” the official said.
In his speech at Munich Security Conference, Pence will outline the administration’s view of the transatlantic relationship, according to the official.
During his meetings and addresses, Pence would be repeatedly reaffirming the US commitment to NATO.
“We’re going to emphasise the US meeting its NATO obligations, but he’s going to call out some of the NATO members to deepen and accelerate their efforts, again coming back to fulfilling the commitment—the two per cent, which you’ll hear… I think you’ll hear, too, kind of in closing, that we are the most secure and most prosperous when both the US and Europe are strong and united,” the official said.
Another senior official denied that recent foreign policy shake-up, including firing of Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, will have any impact on Pence’s trip.
Responding to a question, the official said the Trump administration has been firm about Russian aggression in the Ukraine and Baltic States.
“I think he’s going to talk about the Minsk agreement, and that really is the framework for peace, is to get both the Ukraine and Russia to come to the table and implement Minsk, and that’s the only going to peacefully resolve the conflict,” he said. (PTI)

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