Pompeo dives into nato diplomacy as allies confront russia – 680 news grade 6 electricity unit plan


Attending a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels less than 24 hours after being sworn in, Pompeo criticized Russia for threatening the alliance’s friends and partners in Georgia and Ukraine as well as for “an aggressive campaign to undermine Western democratic institutions.”

Among other Russian misdeeds, Pompeo said, are the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in Britain last month and its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government. Syria is accused of launching a chemical weapons attack that led three NATO members — Britain, France and the U.S. — to launch airstrikes on Syrian targets.

“In light of Russia’s unacceptable actions, NATO is more indispensable than ever,” the former CIA chief told reporters as he wrapped up the first stop on his first overseas trip as secretary of state. “NATO should not return to business as usual with Russia until Moscow shows a clear change in its actions and complies with international law.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg agreed. “We are in a situation where we’ve not been before,” he said. “We’re not in the old Cold War, but we’re neither in the strategic partnership we were trying to build after the Cold War. So this is something new.”

Because of NATO’s central role in pushing back against Russia, Pompeo said it was even more important that the allies, particularly Germany, the largest and wealthiest European member, meet their commitments to spend 2 per cent of their gross domestic product on defence by 2024.

“No,” Pompeo replied bluntly when asked if Germany’s efforts to increase defence spending have been satisfactory. “They should meet the goals that they agreed to,” he said as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Donald Trump were meeting at the White House.

Pompeo arrived in Brussels about 12 hours after he was sworn in as secretary of state to replace Rex Tillerson, fired by Trump last month. His participation in the meeting so soon after taking office was noted by Stoltenberg and others who said it was a sign of U.S. commitment to NATO and its allies.

His arrival also appeared to have heartened some U.S. diplomats who had been discouraged by Tillerson’s embrace of budget and staffing cuts and a perceived desire to reduce America’s diplomatic footprint. Pompeo is known to be close to Trump while Tillerson and the president sparred frequently.

“They may have been demoralized but they seemed in good spirits,” he said of a group of U.S. diplomats he met at NATO. “They are hopeful that the State Department will get its swagger back, that we will be out doing the things that they came on board at the State Department to do.”

From Brussels, Pompeo will travel on to the Middle East, visiting Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan, where the future of the Iran nuclear deal and the conflict in Syria will be significant agenda items. Pompeo, repeating Trump’s pledge to withdraw from the deal unless it is significantly strengthened, said the U.S. was “unlikely” to stay in if that was not done.

Pompeo arrives in Riyadh on Saturday ahead of a series of events that could potentially plunge the region into deeper disarray, including Trump’s decision by May 12 on the Iran deal, and the scheduled opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem two days later.

Looming over Pompeo’s trip is uncertainty over Trump’s policy on Syria, which has shifted between a speedy all-out withdrawal of American forces from the country and leaving a lasting footprint to deter Iran from completing a land bridge from Tehran to Beirut.