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US Determined to Protect NATO Countries

  • VOA News

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Latvia's President Raimonds Vejonis (2R), Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite (L) and Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (R) pose for a picture in Riga castle, Latvia, Aug. 23, 2016.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Latvia's President Raimonds Vejonis (2R), Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite (L) and Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik Ilves (R) pose for a picture in Riga castle, Latvia, Aug. 23, 2016.

The United States Vice President Joe Biden has reaffirmed America's commitment to NATO for defending the Baltic nations against any aggression from neighboring Russia.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday in the capital of Latvia, Riga, Biden said that the U.S. remains committed to the common defense of all NATO alliance members.

"I want to make it clear, I want to make it absolutely clear to all the people in the Baltic States; we have pledged our sacred honor of the United States of America to the NATO treaty and Article 5. We mean what we say, we have never reneged on any commitment we've ever made. Our sacred honor is at stake,” he said.

Referring to comments on NATO by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who suggested that the U.S. may not automatically defend NATO allies if they have not fulfilled their financial obligations to the group, Biden dismissed his remarks and said there is overwhelming bipartisan agreement in the U.S. to the key principle of the alliance that calls for collective defense.

"The concern that the United States is somehow disengaging or leaving is simply not true. As a matter of fact, our presence will be enhanced and the fact is that there will be more NATO partners on the Russian border. There will be more than a single tripwire. We are absolutely, thoroughly, 100 percent committed to our NATO obligations including and especially Article 5," he said.

At NATO’s July summit, leaders agreed to deploy military forces to the Baltic states and eastern Poland for the first time and increase air and sea patrols to reassure allies in the region and easy their concerns about the threat from Russia.

On Wednesday, Biden travels to Turkey where he will meet the country’s president and prime minister before visiting Sweden to discuss Europe's asylum crisis on Thursday.

Some material for this report came from AP and Reuters.

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