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Saturday, 18 February 2017

Ukrainian crisis: America will hold Russia accountable while searching for common ground – Pence

US President Donald Trump believes common ground can be found with Russia, but Moscow must still be held accountable for the Ukrainian crisis, Vice President Mike Pence has said. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, He said, “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.”

In his first major foreign policy address for the Trump administration, Pence issued a hardline statement, saying the US would demand that Moscow “honors the Minsk agreement, beginning by deescalating the violence in eastern Ukraine.” The US and its European allies have been claiming that Moscow is backing the rebel movement in eastern Ukraine against the post-coup Kiev government.
Pence praised NATO's new military deployments in Poland and the Baltic states in the wake of what he called “Russia's efforts to redraw international borders by force,” in an apparent reference to the 2014 reunification with Crimea.

Pence's statement drew an immediate reaction from the head of Russia’s upper house Committee for International Relations. It's not an “appropriate assessment of the situation in southeastern Ukraine, and adds no value to the peace process,” Konstantin Kosachev told the media.

“We expect a much deeper, more constructive stance from the Americans on this issue.”

US will make sure Iran never gets nukes

Pence claimed the easing of nuclear-related sanctions has given Iran more freedom to threaten the region.

"Under President Trump, the United States will remain fully committed to ensuring that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon capable of threatening our countires, our allies in the region, especially Israel," he said.

Pence referred to Iran as the “leading state sponsor of terrorism,” and slammed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed in July 2015 for allowing Tehran to devote more resources to “destabilize the Middle East.”
We'll stay committed, but EU must do more

Pence told the audience that European countries were “failing to pay their fair share” when it comes to defense, which he said “erodes the very foundation of our alliance.”

“The time has come to do more,” he said.

The vice president stressed that “The United States is and will always be your greatest ally,” and that it “strongly supports NATO and will be unwavering in its commitment to the alliance.”

Trump “will stand with Europe,” he added.

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