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EU Foreign Policy Chief Meets With Secretary Of State Tillerson, WH Advisers

The European Union's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini met with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the State Department.
Alex Wong
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The European Union's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini met with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the State Department.

This is a new era for U.S. relations with the European Union.

Gone are the days when the U.S. was more supportive of European integration than some Europeans are. The European Union's top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, is expecting a more businesslike, "transactional" approach with President Donald Trump, who has been skeptical of the EU and backs the British exit plan.

"We do not interfere in U.S. politics ... and Europeans expect that America does not interfere in European politics," Mogherini told reporters at the end of her trip to Washington.

She says she raised concerns about the man rumored to become the next U.S. ambassador to the EU, Ted Malloch, another supporter of Brexit and someone who has suggested the European Union "needs a little taming."

"I was told there is no decision taken on the next U.S. ambassador to the European Union," Mogherini said, adding that she explained to U.S. officials that all EU member states have to agree to accredit a foreign ambassador.

"That has to be taken into consideration," she stressed.

The European Union's foreign policy chief met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as well as several White House advisers, including President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Kushner is taking the lead on Middle East policy and Mogherini says she talked to him about the possibility of reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and where the EU stands on that. She's also pressing the Trump administration not to walk away from the nuclear deal with Iran, which she oversees.

"The deal is working and we need to preserve it this way," she said, adding that she was reassured by what she heard in her meetings.

Mogherini says she also got reassurances from the Trump administration that the U.S. will continue to push Russia to implement an international peace plan on Ukraine before easing sanctions. The U.S. has made clear that it will maintain sanctions related to Crimea unless Russia returns the peninsula to Ukraine. Officials, though, have carefully left open the door to easing other sanctions, related to Russia's actions in Eastern Ukraine and its cyberattacks in the U.S.

The State Department did not issue a statement about Secretary Tillerson's meeting with Europe's top diplomat.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Michele Kelemen has been with NPR for two decades, starting as NPR's Moscow bureau chief and now covering the State Department and Washington's diplomatic corps. Her reports can be heard on all NPR News programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.