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Tillerson: 'America First' Means Separating US Policy, Values

  • Associated Press

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gestures while speaking to State Department employees at the State Department in Washington, May 3, 2017.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the United States must not condition its national security efforts on other countries adopting U.S. values.

Tillerson was addressing State Department employees Wednesday ahead of a major overhaul of the agency. His comments come amid concern that the Trump administration is de-emphasizing human rights.

Tillerson says if the U.S. creates conditions for other countries to engage with the U.S., "it really creates obstacles" to the ability to achieve U.S. security and economic interests. But he says it doesn't mean the U.S. doesn't advocate for freedom and other rights.

Tillerson says Trump's "America First" approach means restoring balance in U.S. relationships with allies. He says over the last two decades, the U.S. "just kind of lost track of how we were doing."

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