Tillerson offers EU strong US support
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Dec. 5 said the United States remains committed to Europe, offering a public statement of support for European allies worried about foreign policy under President Donald Trump.
“The partnership between America and the European Union... is based upon shared values, shared objectives for security and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic and we remain committed to that,” Tillerson said before a lunch with 28 EU foreign ministers.
Tillerson, in brief statements with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini after which the two took no questions, said his visit showed “the strong commitment the U.S. has to the European alliance, the important role that the European alliance plays in our shared security objectives.”
Tillerson’s visit to Brussels comes against a difficult backdrop -- a rift with President Donald Trump has led to reports he could be replaced within weeks, calling into question his authority to speak for Washington.
And there are major differences between Washington and Europe on a number of key policy areas, notably the Iran nuclear deal which Trump has vehemently condemned but which Brussels is desperate to preserve.
The EU has been ramping up economic sanctions on the North Korea in a bid to force it to the negotiating table -- but with no success so far.
But if the U.S. and EU can present a unified front on North Korea, the deal with Iran to end the Islamic republic’s nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions is more problematic.
Trump has slammed the historic 2015 accord, agreed after years of painstaking talks between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, China, Germany and Russia, as a bad deal and threatened to pull America out.
European powers are keen to maintain the deal and Mogherini last month travelled to Washington to lobby US lawmakers not to withdraw from the agreement