Pence pledges the US' unwavering support for NATO and will stay 'faithful' to Europe
In the first major foreign policy address for the new administration of President Donald Trump, Pence warned allies that they must pay their fair share to support NATO, noting many lack "a clear or credible path" to do so.
He also said Russia must honor the Minsk peace accords and deescalate violence in eastern Ukraine."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," said Pence in his speech as detailed by Reuters.
"The US has been faithful to Europe for generations and we will keep that faith. We have shared a past and we will share a future. The US is now and will always be your greatest ally."
On Monday, 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. Trump fired his national security adviser on Monday for misleading Pence over his conversations with Russia's ambassador to the United States. Trump was turned down by a replacement candidate on Thursday.
While 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 defense policy adviser to former 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.