BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: (World View Media, Reuters)
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday (March 23) pledged to rebuild and revitalise the transatlantic NATO military alliance and to share American plans on any possible withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Speaking on his first visit to NATO headquarters, Blinken said the alliance was at a pivotal moment in facing threats around the world, as well as climate change.
“I’ve come to Brussels because the United States wants to rebuild our partnerships first and foremost with our NATO allies,” Blinken told reporters as he met NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
Asked about any possible withdrawal from Afghanistan, Blinken said a U.S. review of options was still underway and he would listen and consult with allies. NATO foreign ministers will discuss Afghanistan over the next two days in Brussels.
“We went in together, we have adjusted together and when the time is right, we will leave together,” Blinken said of Western involvement in the country.
Asked about the Nord Stream 2 project, Blinken said the pipeline being built from Russia to Germany ran counter to the European Union’s own interests and could undermine Ukraine.
Nord Stream 2 will bypass Ukraine, a Western ally, potentially depriving it of valuable transit fees. It will also increase European energy dependency on Russia and compete with shipments of U.S. liquefied natural gas.
The pipeline is already around 95% built, and could be finished by September, analysts who monitor tracking data say.
The United States fears Russia could use Nord Stream 2 as leverage to weaken EU states by increasing dependency on Moscow.
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