US vice-president Mike Pence has asserted Donald Trump’s “steadfast and enduring” commitment to working with the EU – despite the president’s endorsement of Brexit.
Mr Pence was in Brussels at the end of a European trip aimed at providing the continent with clarity on the Trump administration’s foreign policy and its stance on Russia.
Mr Trump has endorsed Britain’s decision to leave the EU and suggested that other states might follow.
The day after the 23 June referendum, he tweeted: “Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!”
However, the majority of Scots voted to remain in the bloc.
Two months later, Mr Trump tweeted: “They will soon be calling me MR. BREXIT!”
Following talks with European Council President Donald Tusk, Mr Pence said: “Today is my privilege on behalf of President Trump to express the strong commitment of the United States to continue cooperation and partnership with the European Union.
Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2016
They will soon be calling me MR. BREXIT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2016
“Whatever our differences, our two continents share the same heritage, the same values and above all, the same purpose to promote peace and prosperity through freedom, democracy and the rule of law. And to those objectives we will remain committed.”
Mr Tusk said Europe counted on the “unequivocal” support of the US, but added: “Too much has happened over the past month in your country and in the EU… for us to pretend that everything is as it used to be.”
The pair met as anti-Trump protesters gathered outside the EU headquarters in the Belgian capital.
Mr Pence also said Washington would hold Russia accountable in the Ukraine following assurances the US remains steadfast in its support of NATO.
The military alliance was once dismissed as “obsolete” by Mr Trump in a tweet.
A tentative ceasefire deal between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists over the weekend comes into effect on Monday.
N.A.T.O. is obsolete and must be changed to additionally focus on terrorism as well as some of the things it is currently focused on!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 24, 2016
It is seen as a renewed attempt to enforce the 2014 Minsk protocol which aimed to bring peace to the region following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Natalia Galibarenko , the Ukrainian ambassador to the UK, told Sky’s All Out Politics presenter Adam Boulton that her country did not feel under more pressure to settle with Russia since the election of Mr Trump.
“Gradually, I see there is strong support within the Ukrainian society for NATO membership, for the EU, and also, decreasing support for the Russian Federation,” she said.