Pence's ''Three Seas Trip": US Partners and "Russian Threat"
US Vice President Mike Pence made a four-day visit to Tallinn to negotiate with the leaders of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, attended the Adriatic Charter Summit in Podgorica and visited Tbilisi. It should be noted that Pence’s "Three Seas" tour took place just a month after President Trump's trip. Moreover, Vice-president's statements in the Eastern European countries almost did not differ from previous statements made by the US President.
The US Vice President began his tour in Tallinn. During one of his speeches, Pence announced that he "brought with him the greetings of Donald Trump, the leader of the free world." Knowing that in Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius, they did not expect only the greetings, he also mentioned Article 5 of the Washington Treaty of 1949, the United Nations Protection Act, which states that attack on any NATO member country is an attack on every member. At a meeting with the Estonian leadership, Pence discussed a number of other issues. Yuri Ratas, the country's prime minister, said the US side touched upon US Patriot anti-missile defense installations. However, the prime minister did not publish the details of their conversation, TASS reports.
In Georgia, the US Vice President also tried to satisfy the expectations of the country's authorities. He specifically stated that Trump and he were loyal to the statement of NATO's Bucharest meeting in 2008. With this statement, Pence clearly stated that "sooner or later Georgia will become a NATO member." He added that the US is proud of its friendship and strategic cooperation with Georgia and the Georgian people. According to Pence, the US President sent him to Baltic States, Georgia and Montenegro, to tell that the United States supports all countries of the world which love freedom, BBC reports.
The US Vice President did not forget to raise the issue of Georgia's territorial integrity, which is one of the main obstacles to the normalization of relations between Moscow and Tbilisi. As it is known, Russia has recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, while Georgia considers these territories as its inseparable parts, accusing Moscow of occupying them. In one of his speeches in Georgia, Pence announced that strategic partnership between Washington and Tbilisi had never been so strong. It should be recalled that in February of this year during the Munich Conference, the US Vice President assured the Georgian Prime Minister that Tbilisi continues to be one of Washington's most important partners.
Pence's tour was completed in Montenegro, which became a NATO member on June 5. Here, the US Vice President stated that there are large and small countries within NATO but the United States does not have smaller partners and they highly appreciate the new connection established with Montenegro through NATO. He called on the region's leaders to benefit from their meeting and called Russia an "unpredictable country", which, according to him, strives to destabilize the Balkans.
It should be noted that the news about Pence's visit caused great excitement in the Georgian, Balkan and Baltic states. Estonian media outlets pointed out that Pence is the highest-ranking figure in the Trump administration, who will visit their country. The Montenego government officially stated that during more than 100 years, since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Vice President Pence is the highest-ranking US official to visit Montenegro. Georgian Prime Minister Georgi Kvirikashvili, in turn, announced that Vice President's visit clearly showed that Washington supports Tbilisi. He added he was happy that the United States considers Georgia, Estonia and Montenegro among its most important partners.
The choice of countries was not accidental. As noted by a number of experts, all these countries are united by the "anxiety of Russian threat", and Pence's visit indicates that the US is ready to support these countries. That's what Pence stated, saying that America will not leave its partners alone against the "Russian threat". Experts note that this means a long-term conflict for Moscow, which is also signaled by Trump's signing the law on new sanctions against Russia.
And despite the seemingly geographical scattering at first glance, Estonia, Georgia and Montenegro have a number of similarities. The three states see their future in the Western world, with all its consequences. Experts say the United States in turn wants to reinforce its positions in these regions by developing economic, energy and political cooperation with the above-mentioned countries.
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