Munich, Feb.19 (AP).─ U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday conveyed a message to jittery partners that the Trump administration will "hold Russia accountable" and maintain steadfast support for NATO, a military alliance the American commander in chief once dismissed as "obsolete."
In his overseas debut as vice president, Pence told the audience at the Munich Security Conference that the U.S. would be "unwavering" in its commitment to NATO and that President Donald Trump would "stand with Europe." Pence pointed to their shared "noble ideals — freedom, democracy, justice and the rule of law."
Addressing the violence in Ukraine, Pence said the U.S. would demand that Russia honor a 2015 deal to end violence in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russia-backed separatists. He did not mention findings by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in last year's presidential election to help Trump win the White House.
"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," Pence said.
Pence's address and a series of one-on-one meetings with world leaders along the sidelines here sought to calm nervous European allies who remain concerned about Russian aggression, including its annexation of Crimea. Many have been alarmed by Trump's positive statements about Russian President Vladimir Putin. Pence's speech aimed to reassure international partners who worry that Trump may pursue isolationist tendencies.
After his speech, Pence met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel ...