The US is committed to rebuild transatlantic ties and revitalize the alliance within NATO, the secretary of state said on Tuesday.
“I’ve come here to express the United States’ steadfast commitment to the alliance which has been the cornerstone of peace, prosperity and stability for the transatlantic community for more than 70 years,” Anthony Blinken told a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg before the meeting of bloc’s foreign ministers in Brussels.
The US top diplomat also pointed out that they “want to revitalize the alliance to make sure it’s as strong and effective against the threats of today as it has been in the past.”
Calling the new US secretary of state’s first visit to the NATO headquarters a “unique opportunity to start a new chapter in the transatlantic relationship,” Stoltenberg welcomed the Biden administration’s determination to strengthen the alliance.
The NATO chief reassured Blinked that he was “here not among allies but among friends,” and stressed that “only Europe and America together in NATO” were able to face the security challenges of the 21st century.
Asked about NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, Blinken highlighted the importance of coordination between allies and explained that he had come to listen and consult his counterparts from other NATO countries.
“We went in together. We have adjusted together. And when the time is right, we will leave together. There’s a common theme or a common word, and that is together,” he said.
Referring to the US president’s remarks last week about the US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, Blinken said it was difficult to keep the May 2021 deadline for full withdrawal because NATO sought “to bring a responsible end to this conflict.”
According to the US top diplomat, troops can only be removed if it is ensured that “Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists who could threaten the United States or our allies.”
On March 17, Biden said in a televised interview that it will be “tough” for the US to meet the May 1 deadline to pull troops out of Afghanistan under an agreement negotiated by former President Donald Trump with the Taliban.