LONDON — President Barack Obama is delivering a speech to the people of Greece Wednesday as he continues his final foreign trip as U.S. leader.
On Tuesday, he thanked Greeks for their humanitarian efforts to help migrants and he offered further reassurances of U.S. support for Europe and its security in the face of concerns that a Donald Trump administration may usher in an era of isolationism in the United States
He said NATO is “absolutely vital” and “provides significant continuity even as we see a transition of government in the United States.”
Following up on issues raised by President-elect Trump and by previous U.S. administrations including Obama’s, the U.S. leader called on NATO members to spend more on defence.
Obama had praise for Greece. At a news conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, President Obama congratulated the country for spending more than the minimum goal on defense “even in difficult times.” He said that if Greece can meet its NATO commitment, “all our allies should be able to do so.”
Before leaving the White House on Monday, Obama said Trump had expressed to him a “great interest” in maintaining America’s core strategic relations. “And so one of the messages I will be able to deliver is his commitment to NATO and the Transatlantic Alliance,” Obama said. The outgoing U.S. president said he would let European allies know “there is no weakening of resolve when it comes to America’s commitment to maintaining a strong and robust NATO relationship.”
European leaders, alarmed by Trump’s campaign statements on U.S. commitments, have been anxious for clarification.
Obama travels to Germany later in the day