Tillerson Says No Normalization of NATO Relations With Russia

Tillerson Says No Normalization  of NATO Relations With RussiaTillerson Says No Normalization  of NATO Relations With Russia

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that the western allies agreed there was “no normalization” of ties with Russia.

“We had a lot of discussion at this NATO meeting ... over what is the proper engagement with Russia and I think there is broad consensus among all the NATO members that there is no normalization of dialogue with Russia today,” he told reporters.

However, highlighting how the West depends on Russia in efforts to address the multiple conflicts in the Middle East, Tillerson said Washington saw it as Moscow’s task to make sure Russia’s ally Damascus takes part in UN-led peace talks on Syria.

Tillerson also reassured his 28 EU counterparts that the US remains committed to a strong partnership.

"The partnership between America and the European Union ... is based upon shared values, shared objectives for security and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic and we remain committed to that,” DW reported.

This reaffirmation of US-EU ties comes at a time when many EU member states are concerned that US President Donald Trump's stark anti-NATO stance has undermined the transatlantic alliance.

Tillerson called on his EU and NATO partners to ramp up their defense budgets.

"Our security is strongest when allies and partners shoulder their fair share of the burden," he said. "That's why we continue to call on others to increase their defense spending: It is towards a shared objective and serves everyone well."

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