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U.S. vice president reaffirms strong commitment to EU
   2017-02-20 20:38:01    Xinhua      Web Editor: Zhang Jin

European Council President Donald Tusk (R) welcomes U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 20, 2017. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Monday reaffirmed "strong commitments" to the European Union (EU), in a bid to allay the bloc's doubts on the new U.S. administration's stance towards it. [Photo: Xinhua]

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Monday reaffirmed "strong commitments" to the European Union (EU), in a bid to allay the bloc's doubts on the new U.S. administration's stance towards it.

"Today is my privilege to be on behalf of President (Donald) Trump, to express strong commitments of the United States to continued cooperation and partnership with the EU," Pence said at a joint press conference with European Council President Donald Tusk after their meeting in Brussels.

He stressed that despite differences between the United States and the EU, the two sides "share the same heritage, the same values, above all the same purpose to promote peace, prosperity, freedom, and rule of law."

Tusk said he raised "three key matters," namely international order, security and the attitude of the new U.S. administration towards the European Union, during his meeting with Pence, and got all positive answers from his American guest.

"We are counting, as always in the past, on the United States' wholehearted and unequivocal -- let me repeat -- unequivocal support for the idea of a united Europe," stressed Tusk, who reiterated the importance of a united Europe.

"The world would be a decidedly worse place if Europe were not united," said Tusk, adding that "Americans know best what great value it is to be united, and that becoming divided is the prelude to a fall."

"It is in the interest of us all to prevent the disintegration of the West. And, as for our continent, in this respect we will not invent anything better than the European Union," said Tusk.

Earlier on Monday Pence met with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who in her tweeter hailed the "excellent meeting" as "good basis for our cooperation".

Pence will meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg later on Monday.

Pence is on his first diplomatic foray to Brussels as U.S. vice president, after attending the Munich Security Conference in Germany.

Pence said Saturday at the conference that his country would "strongly support NATO" as European members of the military alliance were worried about security uncertainties arising from possible change in U.S. policy.

While seeking to reassure European leaders, Pence also urged NATO members to shoulder their fair share.

"NATO requires your commitment as much as ours," he said.

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