Thursday, December 2, 2021

US Defense Secretary Heads to Europe to Focus on Black Sea Stability, NATO

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is traveling to Europe later this week to meet the leaders of Georgia, Ukraine and Romania and to attend a NATO defense ministers meeting in Belgium.

“The Department of Defense continues to support its European allies and partners in countering Russia’s destabilizing actions in the critical Black Sea region, and the Secretary will work with his counterparts and other senior officials to reinforce the commitment of the United States.” We look forward to meeting a stable and prosperous Europe,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

In Georgia, Austin will meet with Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Defense Minister Juansher Berchuladze to discuss bilateral relations and regional security.

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In Ukraine, the secretary will meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky and Defense Minister Andrey Taran to discuss “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” as well as the country’s defense industry reforms.

In Romania, Austin will meet with President Klaus Iohannes and Minister of National Defense Nicolae-Ionel Ciuka to discuss bilateral relations. He will also visit the US Army at Mihail Kogalnikenu Air Base.

In Belgium, Austin will attend a meeting of his NATO counterparts and Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to ensure that the coalition is “ready for the challenges of the future.”

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