Obama in Europe to calm allies over Trump upset

CLOSE TIES: President Barack Obama is welcomed to Athens by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Picture: REUTERS
CLOSE TIES: President Barack Obama is welcomed to Athens by
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Picture: REUTERS

The Nato alliance is absolutely vital to US interests, President Barack Obama said yesterday, as he flew in to Europe to reassure jittery allies concerned by Donald Trump’s shock presidential election victory.

Speaking in Athens on the first leg of his last foreign trip as leader of the US, Obama stressed that a strong Europe was good for the world and the US, after Trump appeared to down play the importance of historic transatlantic ties.

Europeans, especially in eastern countries closer to Russia, have been shaken after Trump appeared to call into question Washington’s near 70-year security guarantee, by saying he would only help Nato allies if they paid their way.

But Obama said the transatlantic relationship was the cornerstone of mutual security as well as prosperity and that was the case regardless of who was sitting in the Oval Office.

“Across Democratic and Republic an administrations there is a recognition that the alliance is absolutely vital,” he said.

The US president then went to a meeting with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Obama praised Greece for showing compassion to hundreds of thousands of migrants in what has become a challenge for the entire European Union.

“I thank the Greek people for their humanitarian response and their extraordinary compassion,” he said Today, Obama travels to Germany, where he will speak to close ally Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as the French and British leaders.

He concludes his trip in Peru for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, where he is expected to also meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.
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