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Tillerson meets with the EU, which diverges with Trump over Jerusalem

Ⓒ AFP – THIERRY CHARLIER – | The US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, talks with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom (D), during a meeting in Brussels with their EU and NATO counterparts at the headquarters of the latter organization, the December 5, 2017

The US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, met Tuesday in Brussels with his counterparts from the EU and NATO, to express their determination against North Korea, but failed to avoid disagreements on issues such as the status of Jerusalem.

It is difficult to show a transatlantic harmony when the US president, Donald Trump, could recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which would make it impossible, according to Europeans, the creation of a Palestinian state with the Jewish state.

“Any action that separates the effort (of a peace negotiated in the Middle East) should be avoided,” warned the head of European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, next to her US counterpart, just before a luncheon with the 28 foreign ministers. of the EU.

“A solution must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem – occupied and annexed by Israel – as the future capital of two States (Israeli and Palestinian), with the aim of responding to the aspirations of the two parties,” he insisted. .

Tillerson, who remained silent on this explosive issue, preferred to insist on “the strong commitment of the United States” with the European Union and its “common security objectives”.

The secretary of state thanked the EU for its “determined position” against North Korea, to whom the Europeans imposed harsh sanctions.

– ‘Irritation’ –

Mogherini also defended once again the nuclear agreement with Iran, strongly questioned by Donald Trump, describing it as “a great strategic priority for the EU”.

Before Tillerson, who listed the discontent of the United States with Tehran -recent launches of ballistic missiles in the Syrian conflict and Yemen-, considered that it had to be “addressed outside the agreement.”

“The objective (of the lunch) is to do everything possible so as not to get too far away from each other, we need each other despite recent frictions,” summed up the head of German diplomacy, Sigmar Gabriel.

“I think we should continue to look for common ways with the United States,” Gabriel insisted.

Rex Tillerson must then meet with his Atlantic Alliance counterparts during two days of consultations, starting with the current major security challenges: North Korea and Russia.

Ⓒ AFP – THOMAS COEX – | Flags of Israel wave near the dome of the Al-Aqsa mosques complex on December 5, 2017.

“The launch last week of an intercontinental ballistic missile proved that all allied nations could be within reach” of Pyongyang, insisted NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday.

“Our partners in the region are in danger (…), so the whole world must exert great pressure on North Korea,” said Stoltenberg, recalling that the 29 countries of NATO “were clear and consistent in their sentences. “against the nuclear test of the beginning of September and the missile launches by Pyongyang.

Although Europeans have always felt safe, they showed an unwavering firmness by further tightening their economic sanctions against Pyongyang while calling for a peaceful resolution of this crisis.

– ‘Do the work’ –

But beyond this unity against North Korea, many issues continue to divide the partners from both sides of the Atlantic.

Ⓒ AFP – AHMAD GHARABLI – | Members of the Israeli border guards pass by a store displaying T-shirts with the image of US President Donald Trump, dressed as a Hasidic Jew, on December 4, 2017 in the old city of Jerusalem

Starting with the fight against global warming, after Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris agreement. The EU is also concerned about its questioning of multilateral trade agreements, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN.

“The EU continues to strongly support multilateralism, the UN and an international order based on rules,” Mogherini reiterated.

Even NATO, a transatlantic military cooperation organization historically dominated by the United States, was criticized by Trump, who does not hide his exasperation at the unequal “burden-sharing” and unceremoniously demands his European and Canadian allies to increase their military budget.

The European tour of Rex Tillerson begins after new tensions between the former CEO of ExxonMobil and Trump.

US media reported last week that the White House planned to replace him soon by CIA director Mike Pompeo at the head of the State Department, including forcing him to resign.

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