Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Tuesday that the U.S. is committed to working with European allies, despite occasional disagreements.
“At the end of the day, no one should misinterpret occasional policy differences and debates as a signal of anything less than total commitment to our alliances in Europe. That commitment is strong,” she said, speaking to the U.N. Security Council.
Haley also called NATO the “strongest alliance in history,” and said the U.S. is working to make the organization “even more effective.”
Her comments echo those made by Vice President Mike Pence on Monday, when he told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg the U.S. is committed to its NATO allies, but other countries also need to share the fiscal burden of defense more evenly.
“We intend to increase our defense spending. America will do our part,” Pence declared of the new U.S. administration under President Donald Trump. But he added, “It is time for action, not words” by the 23 countries that have not met the minimum 2 percent threshold.
Stoltenberg said he agreed with Pence that other countries need to pay their fair share.
“The good news is we are moving in that direction,” he said,
Trump has, in the past, suggested the United States might not defend NATO allies who did not spend their share on defense.
Haley said she believes the U.S. can have a better relationship with Russia, but greater cooperation with Russia “can’t come at the expense of our European friends and allies.”
“That is why we continue to urge Russia to show a commitment to peace by fully implementing the commitments under the Minsk agreements and ending its occupation of Crimea,” she said. “The United States and the EU remain united in this approach, keeping sanctions in place until Moscow fully honors its Minsk commitments.”
Under the 2015 Minsk agreement, Ukraine, Russia and Russia-backed separatists agreed to end the crisis in Ukraine, beginning with the withdrawal of heavy weapons.