Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused NATO of being a Cold War institution whose “expansion” sparked the Ukraine crisis and European tensions. Addressing the Munich Security Conference Saturday, he said he hoped “responsible leaders” will choose to create a “just world order – if you want you can call it a post-West world order.” Lavrov added that Russia wants pragmatic relations with the US amid mutual respect.
US Vice President Mike Pence earlier voiced “strong support” for NATO and said the US will “hold Russia accountable” – even while searching for new common ground which President Trump believes can be found."
Pence called Tehran “the leading state sponsor of terrorism” and said it continued to destabilize the Middle East. “Thanks to the end of nuclear-related sanctions under the [nuclear deal] Iran now has additional resources to devote to these efforts,” he said.
“Let me be clear again: Under President Trump the United States will remain fully committed to ensuring that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon capable of threatening our countries, our allies in the region, especially Israel,” Vice President Pence declared.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her speech: “The challenges of this world today cannot be mastered by one state alone. It needs a cooperative effort. We need to forge ahead with multilateral structures. We have to strengthen them,” Merkel said. “Let me address this very openly. The Europeans alone cannot cope with fighting international Islamist terrorism. We also need the support of the United States.”
“But what’s also important to us is that Islamic states have been incorporated into this coalition,” she said, referring to efforts to combat the Islamic State.