Vice President Pence on Saturday worked to assure NATO allies that the United States would be “unwavering” in its commitment to the trans-Atlantic alliance.
Pence, in his first overseas trip as vice president, told the Munich Security Conference that President Donald Trump intends to “stand with Europe.” He sought to calm nervous European allies who remain concerned about Russian aggression and have been alarmed by the U.S. president’s positive statements about his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
“Today, on behalf of President Trump, I bring you this assurance: The United States of America strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering in its commitment to our trans-Atlantic alliance,” Pence said.
During his address to foreign diplomats and security officials also sought to reassure international partners who worry that Trump may pursue isolationist tendencies.
Pence said the U.S. would demand that Russia honor a 2015 peace deal agreed upon in Minsk, Belarus, to end violence in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russia-backed separatists.
“Know this: The United States will continue to hold Russia accountable, even as we search for new common ground which as you know President Trump believes can be found,” Pence said.
Pence met afterward with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who addressed the conference just before the vice president. Merkel stressed the need to maintain international alliances and told the audience, with Pence seated a few feet away, that NATO is “in the American interest.”