Richard PompeoPompeo arrives in Brussels for first overseas trip as secretary of State White House praises "historic" inter-Korean summit Kim Jong Un becomes first North Korean leader to visit South Korea MORE said Friday that the NATO alliance is "more indispensable than ever" after recent actions from Russian Federation, including an assassination attempt on British soil. "The work that's being done here today is invaluable", Pompeo said. "Objectives are important and this mission matters an terrible lot for the United States of America - the President very much wanted me to get here and I'm glad to be able to make it".
The NATO-Russia Council has not convened this year and the March 4 poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in Britain plus the chemical attack in Syria that has been blamed on Moscow ally Syrian President Bashar Assad underline the need for more talks, he said.
Donald Trump's earlier provocative comments about NATO had led some to doubt the United States role in the organisation.
"I did come straight away, I was sworn in yesterday and I hopped on a plane", Pompeo told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as he arrived.
Stoltenberg said Pompeo's visit to Brussels was "a great expression of the importance of the alliance".
A senior U.S. official says Pompeo's aim is to ensure that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation maintains a unified position of "no business as usual" with Russian Federation and to prod members, particularly Germany, to meet their commitments to spend 2% of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024.
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"The "I will impose sanctions if you buy" approach will not affect Turkey", he said.
"Six countries in NATO now do so, nine have submitted credible plans for doing so, and it's time for the other 13 members of the alliance to step up, and especially Germany, NATO'S largest and wealthiest European member state".
The foreign ministers also agreed on the outlines of a training mission to Iraq to be launched in July. From Brussels, Pompeo will travel on to the Middle East, visiting Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan, where the future of the Iran nuclear deal and the conflict in Syria will be significant agenda items, officials said.
The meeting, a preview to the leaders' summit in July, will discuss Russia's aggression in Ukraine, Georgia and in Syria, as well as plans for increasing security along Europe's southern frontier, a State Department official told reporters.
Pompeo, a foreign policy hawk who has served as Trump's director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), departed for his first foreign trip as secretary of state just hours after confirmation.
On April 26, three US senators introduced a measure to block the sale of F-35 fighters to Turkey over what they said was Erdogan's "path of reckless governance and disregard for the rule of law".