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US vice-president Mike Pence crowned a week of American diplomacy in Europe on Saturday (18 February) by promising to stick by Nato and to take a tough line on Russia..
"The president [Donald Trump] asked me to be here today to convey a message, a reassurance - the United States of America strongly supports Nato and we will be unwavering in our commitment to this transatlantic alliance,” Pence told the Munich Security Conference in Germany. ...
Pence’s remarks on Nato and Russia came after a series of similar statements in Brussels, Berlin and Munich by senior Trump envoys this week.
The reassurances came after Trump floated the idea of a grand bargain with Moscow and after leaks showing that his aides, such as security advisor Mike Flynn, who was fired, had had clandestine contacts with Russian officials.
Merkel’s comments on Islam and on the euro also came after Trump tried to ban Muslim immigrants on security grounds and claimed that Germany forced the ECB to undervalue the euro to help its exports.
Sebastian Kurz, the Austrian foreign minister, told press on Saturday: “The big topic in Munich is looking to the USA to see which developments to expect next.”
He added that there was “still a lot of uncertainty” despite the US assurances.
John McCain, a US senator, also indicated that the Trump administration’s public diplomacy in Europe was designed to mask what he called “disarray” in Washington.
“The Flynn issue obviously is something that shows that in many respects this administration is in disarray,” he said in Munich on Friday. ...