Pence aiming to reassure allies at start of Trump presidency


The dismissal of Trump's national security adviser, retired Gen. Michael Flynn, has also put Pence and his stature within the administration under new scrutiny.

Top world leaders, diplomats, and defense officials are gathering in Germany for the annual Munich Security Conference - an event that will be attended this year for the first time by members of the new US administration of President Donald Trump.

Allies have been concerned about US commitments in the wake of President Donald Trump's "America First" mantra.

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Pence's own credibility was damaged on the eve of his trip by the revelation that the White House kept him in the dark about Michael Flynn's Russian Federation contacts for two weeks - causing some to question his sway within the Trump administration. Pence is also scheduled to sit down with the leaders of the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko - countries facing the threat of Russian aggression - along with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. Pence would attend the Munich Security Conference and will also visit Brussels this weekend. Meanwhile, a senior US administration official told CNN that Pence will also meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "I think youll hear, too, kind of in closing, that we are the most secure and most prosperous when both the U.S. and Europe are strong and united", the official said.

The Trump administration's secretive and slapdash approach to crafting policy and its conflicting and contradictory messaging has left many European observers unsure what the new president's actual views on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are.

President Trump has sent mixed signals that confused numerous European allies and are looking for clarity into what the stand of the the region is.

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At a surprise news conference on Thursday, Trump said that he didn't believe any of his associates had been involved with Russian Federation during the campaign and that the stories linking him to the Kremlin are "a ruse" and "fake news".

A diplomat from a eurozone country told BuzzFeed News that Flynn's resignation was welcome, and added that they expected the new USA administration to face many problems and challenges as it navigates its stances on rivals like Russian Federation and China, and allies like the United Kingdom and Germany. Flynn was forced to resign Monday following reports he misled Pence about contacts with a Russian diplomat, which the vice-president learned about through media accounts. Some Democrats have called for a deeper investigation into contacts that Flynn and other Trump aides reportedly had with Russian officials.

"He didn't tell the vice president of the United States the facts and then he didn't remember and that's just not acceptable", Trump said of Flynn. Ischinger said he hopes Pence states clearly that the breakup of the European Union is not the goal of the USA government.

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Reassurances from Pence will be a first step, but Europe's leaders will want to see Trump's actions back up any positive remarks they hear from the vice president, said Sherman, now a senior counselor at the advisory firm Albright Stonebridge Group in Washington.