US seeks to mend ties with Europe
Washington: The US Department of State has announced that Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will visit five European nations starting Friday and seek to mend bilateral ties with them.
Starting February 16 upto February 23, the tour is aimed at mending cross-Atlantic ties that have been strained after the Donald Trump administration assumed office in January 2017, Xinhua news agency reported.
Sullivan will arrive in Munich on February 16 to attend the Munich Security Conference, kicking off his visit to Germany, Italy, Ukraine, Latvia and Belgium.
He will participate in a nuclear security and arms control panel discussion with foreign government officials to reaffirm the US stance on global nuclear security.
Sullivan will then travel to Rome to talk about cooperation on Ukraine, Libya and the Islamic State (IS), and deliver remarks at the American Studies Centre to discuss US-Italian cooperation on global security issues.
He will visit Kiev on February 21 to meet Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.
The US diplomat will stress the importance of Ukraine speeding up credible economic and anti-corruption reforms and also underscore US support for its sovereignty and territorial integrity, according to the State Department on Wednesday.
His next stop will be in Riga on February 22 where he will meet senior Latvian officials to reaffirm commitment to NATO's Article 5, which considers an attack against one ally to be an attack on all allies.
Brussels will be his last stop on February 23. Sullivan will participate in the Sahel donors' conference and discuss US continued support for the development, security and political issues of the African region.
Bilateral discords have surfaced around the US' withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, and its constant push for Europe to increase the latter's share of defence expenses.
For their part, European nations complained about the US doing little to curb Moscow's move on the Ukraine issue, which they see as an act of blatant aggression.