Rex Tillerson to talk transatlantic ties with EU in Brussels
Rex Tillerson will meet European Union foreign ministers in Brussels on Tuesday for talks on boosting transatlantic cooperation, the EU said, as the US secretary of state’s political future appeared to hang by a thread.
“Foreign affairs ministers will have an informal meeting with the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson in Brussels on 5 December,” the European Council said today. Tillerson is also expected to attend a NATO meeting on the same day.
With ties between Brussels and Washington strained by US President Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ policy, Tillerson, EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini and the ministers “will discuss how to strengthen transatlantic cooperation on major global challenges.”
Since Trump’s election the EU and US have disagreed on issues ranging from the Iran nuclear deal, climate change and trade.
Mogherini said in a letter to the EU ministers that she was “convinced that the meeting will be an excellent opportunity to address topical foreign policy issues and discuss how we can strengthen transatlantic cooperation.”
News of the visit comes as Trump refused to rule out Tillerson’s imminent departure amid reports of a plan to replace the former oil man with CIA director Mike Pompeo, seen as more amenable to the president’s hardline views.
Asked if he wants Tillerson to remain in his post, Trump said only that “Rex is here” at the White House, a break from the usual expression of confidence in such a circumstances.
The State Department said that Tillerson “enjoys this job”, adding that he also had meetings planned in Vienna and Paris.