July 10, 2020 | News | No Comments
Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, has appealed for unity to confront "great power" challenges from Russia, China and Iran on the 70th anniversary of Nato.
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"We have rightly sought peace through strength here in Nato. We must continue to do so, especially in this new era of great power competition from Russia, from China, and the Islamic Republic of Iran," he told a meeting of the alliance’s foreign ministers.
The ministers approved a new raft of measures in the Black Sea to counter Russia and boost Georgia and the Ukraine – two aspiring Nato members – with increased maritime co-operation, patrols and port visits.
The ministers also renewed demands for Russia to end its annexation of Crimea, release Ukrainian sailors and ships it seized in a confrontation last year in the Sea of Azov and respect the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The US has said it will withdraw from the 1987 treaty in August unless Russia returns to compliance.
However the meeting in Washington, intended to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, was also marked by a number of public rifts between the member states.
Nato defence expenditure and major annual exercises involving US troops
The US has publicly rebuked Turkey over its planned purchase of a Russian air defence system and demanded that other allies, particularly Germany, boost their defence spending. A public row with Canada over steel tariffs also hung over the commemoration ceremony in the US capital.
Mr Pompeo said addressing the challenges posed by Russia, China and Iran as well as terrorism, uncontrolled migration and new technologies, required enhanced defence and security spending.
Mr Pompeo did not address the spat with Turkey in his speech on Thursday, but in a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday he made clear Washington’s displeasure with Ankara for insisting it would buy Russia’s advanced S-400 system instead of the American Patriot system.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland used the Nato meeting to register Ottawa’s displeasure with being labelled a potential national security threat by the US in relation to steel production.
She called the designation, which has led to the imposition of tariffs on Canadian steel, "absurd" and pointed to her presence at the Nato meeting as proof that Canada is not a threat to the US.