Tillerson says Europe, U.S. united on threats to freedom

Rex Tillerson and Federica Mogherini shaking hands in front of flags (© Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini (© Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies stand united on stopping terrorism and confronting other global problems, including Russian aggression on Europe’s frontiers.

Tillerson, after two days of talks in Brussels with NATO and European Union foreign ministers, reaffirmed the ironclad U.S. commitment to collective defense and commended countries for making additional contributions to defense.

The secretary said they had productive talks and “share a common view of the threat that Iran poses in terms of its destabilizing activities in the Middle East.”

He reiterated on December 6 that NATO-Russia relations will not return to normal “as long as Russia continues its illegal occupation of Ukraine.”

“As each of us contributes, the better we will be able to deter and defend against the threats on Europe’s frontiers, which also can become threats for America.” ~ Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

Tillerson began his seventh trip to Europe with talks with Federica Mogherini, vice president of the European Commission and high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security, and EU foreign ministers. Their discussions included Iran, Syria, the Middle East and the nuclear threat from North Korea.

The meeting illustrated “the strong commitment that the U.S. has to the European alliance and the important role [it] plays in our shared security objectives,” Tillerson said. The European Union is a political and economic organization of democracies that has a number of overlaps in membership with the NATO military alliance.

Despite some differences, Mogherini said, “there are many issues on which we work together” and without which “the security situation in large parts of the world would be much worse.”

During Tillerson’s visit to Brussels, NATO’s North Atlantic Council approved a blueprint for working with the European Union to make it easier to move forces and equipment across borders and to better coordinate the exchange of information in the fight against terrorism.