VP Pence will tell the annual Munich Security Conference that Europe is an "indispensable partner"
Vice President Pence will tell the annual Munich Security Conference that Europe is an "indispensable partner" for the United States, a message he will repeat privately in meetings with a dozen leaders over the weekend and on Monday, a senior White House foreign policy adviser told reporters.
"We are the most secure and most prosperous when both the U.S. and Europe are strong and united," the adviser said, previewing Vice President Pence's trip.
President Donald Trump alarmed allies during his campaign for office by breaking with traditional Republican views on the transatlantic relationship.
VP Pence will hold a series of meetings with leaders in Munich
We are the most secure and most prosperous when both the U.S. and Europe are strong and united
President Trump has expressed admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom he said he would like to work to fight Islamic State militants, and has questioned the value of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
In Munich, Vice President Pence will hold a series of meetings with leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and leaders from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Vice President Pence will emphasise that Russia and Ukraine need to fully implement the Minsk ceasefire agreement, and will stand firm on economic sanctions on Russia related to its aggression in Ukraine, the adviser told reporters.
President Donald Trump alarmed allies during his campaign for office
He plans to discuss counterterrorism in a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, and the fight against Islamic State in meetings with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, the adviser said.
On Monday, Vice President Pence will hold several discussions with European officials in Brussels, including with Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
His trip comes amid turbulence at the White House. President Trump fired his national security adviser on Monday for misleading Vice President Pence over his conversations with Russia's ambassador to the United States.
The best photos from Donald Trump's historic inauguration Mon, January 23, 2017
The inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States will mark the commencement of the four-year term of Donald Trump as President and Mike Pence as Vice President. A public ceremony will be held on Friday, January 20, 2017.
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President Donald Trump waves as he walks with first lady Melania Trump and son Barron during the inauguration parade.
Derek Chollet said it may take more than soothing words to provide comfort
While Vice President Pence's sentiments may be welcomed, it may take more than soothing words to provide comfort, given the depth of anxiety in Europe about Trump's foreign policy, said Derek Chollet, a top defence policy adviser to President Barack Obama.
"He will be trying to be reassuring, try to soften the edges of some of the president's recent comments about Europe, put into context or explain – but I have to think that it's not going to solve the problem," said Chollet, now with the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
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