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Reassuring Europe


U.S. President Barack Obama addresses during a joint press conference with Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski (R) at Belveder Palace in Warsaw, June 3, 2014.

New initiative will increase defense readiness of NATO.

In the wake of Russia’s aggressive behavior toward its neighbors, particularly Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, President Barack Obama announced the European Reassurance Initiative, which would commit up to $1 billion for support and training to strengthen the security of NATO Allies and partners.

At a Warsaw press conference alongside Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, President Obama said the goal of the Initiative is to increase the defense readiness of NATO writ large.

In addition, funds from the Initiative would bolster the capacity of NATO Partners, including Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, to better work alongside NATO, as well as to provide for their own defense. It will also increase the ability of U.S. forces to quickly reinforce NATO Allies, possibly by prepositioning U.S. equipment, improving reception facilities and infrastructure in Europe, and increasing naval deployments to the Black and Baltic seas.

In President Obama’s words, “We’ll increase the number of American personnel -- Army and Air Force units -- continuously rotating through allied countries in Central and Eastern Europe. And we will be stepping up our partnerships with friends like Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia as they provide for their own defense.”

The United States will stand with its European allies, and is fully committed to Allied collective defense. America does not perceive there to be a zero-sum game taking place; the United States and NATO remain committed to seeking a constructive, cooperative relationship with Russia. But that relationship must be based on a shared commitment to the fundamental principles at the heart of European security.

According to President Obama, “The fact of the matter is, is that Russia is a significant country with incredibly gifted people, resources, an enormous land mass, and they rightfully play an important role on the world stage and in the region. But what we have learned from our history -- and nobody understands that better than the Poles -- is that basic principles of territorial integrity and sovereignty and freedom, the ability for people to make their own determinations about their country’s future is the cornerstone of the peace and security that we’ve seen in Europe over the last several decades.”
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