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Pence Stresses U.S. Commitment to Cooperate with Europe | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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United States Vice President Mike Pence, left, shakes hands with European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini during a meeting in Brussels (AP)

Brussels – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Monday that his country was keen on maintaining cooperation with the European Union.

Speaking during an official visit to the EU in Brussels, Pence assured the EU that U.S. President Donald Trump administration would develop their cooperation in trade and security.

“Whatever our differences, our two continents share the same heritage, the same values and above all, the same purpose to promote peace and prosperity through freedom, democracy and the rule of law,” he stated.

Pence told reporters that he had come to “the home of the European Union” with a message from the president.

In other remarks at the NATO headquarters, Pence said that the U.S. president “expects real progress” from European governments by the end of the year in increasing their spending on military budgets closer to a NATO target of 2 percent of GDP.

Pence also reiterated Trump’s belief that “common ground” could be established with Russia after several years of confrontation.

The chairman of European Council of EU leaders, Donald Tusk, told reporters that Pence had given him affirmative answers to three questions on Trump’s support for: the current system of international law, NATO and “the idea of a united Europe”.

In an earlier meeting, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Pence discussed the importance of a strong partnership between the EU and the U.S., which is essential for both sides of the Atlantic.

The High Representative reaffirmed a strong willingness of the EU to continue building a strong EU-U.S. partnership on the basis of clear values and interests, and cooperating closely on bilateral as well as international issues.

A statement issued by Mogherini’s office said the two officials had an “in depth exchange on common priorities, from Syria to Ukraine, from Libya to the Middle East, from Afghanistan to DPRK.”

“As chairperson of the Joint Commission, Mogherini stressed the need to preserve and fully implement the Iran nuclear deal,” the statement added.

The two officials also exchanged views on how to deepen and strengthen cooperation on counter-terrorism, in particular in the context of the anti-ISIS coalition.