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Pompeo pledges $1 billion in US support for European energy initiative

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday pledged that the U.S. would contribute $1 billion to help support the energy independence of European allies.

The support to the Three Seas Initiative, an effort that aims to promote dialogue among 12 member states in Central and Eastern Europe on a variety of policies, comes as President Trump continues to press European allies over their contributions to shared defense, trade and other issues.

“As a brand new statement today of our support for sovereignty, prosperity, and energy independence of our European friends, today I want to announce that through the International Development Finance Corporation, and with the support of our United States Congress, we intend to provide up to $1 billion in financing to Central and Eastern European countries of the Three Seas Initiative,” Pompeo announced at the Munich Security Conference. 

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“Our aim is quite simple: It is to galvanize private sector investment in the energy sector to protect freedom and democracy around the world.” 

Trump and lawmakers in Washington have urged European countries to rely less on Russian natural gas and instead use energy exports from the U.S. and other countries.

Pompeo in his speech Saturday addressed the broad pressure on European nations over military spending imposed by Trump, citing the $1 billion contribution to dismiss speculation that the U.S. is questioning its relationships with historical allies.

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The secretary of State noted that calls for nations to contribute more to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) were made “because our nations are safer when we work together and when we field the strongest forces and capabilities.” He also emphasized that the U.S. has helped bolster NATO’s eastern flank against Russian aggression and touted military aid to Ukraine as proof the U.S. retains close ties to Europe.

“These are just a few signature efforts of American leadership with our partners. We always work to bring allies and partners on board with everything that it is that we do,” said Pompeo. “The United States is out there fighting alongside you for sovereignty and freedom.”

Trump has long pressed several European allies to ramp up their military spending, asserting that the U.S. is being taken advantage of by countries that do not contribute enough for shared defense.

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