BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:40 A.M.) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that the NATO forces should come together to confront the “emerging threats” posed by the Russian military and China in Venezuela.
“We must adapt our alliance to confront emerging threats … whether that’s Russian aggression, uncontrolled migration, cyberattacks, threats to energy security, Chinese strategic competition, including technology and 5G, and many other issues,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo issued the warning during a meeting of the NATO foreign ministers in Washington on Thursday as they celebrated the 70th year of the alliance.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Pompeo said NATO members had agreed Russian troops needed to withdraw from Venezuela, where they were deployed in support of President Nicolás Maduro, who is under pressure from a coalition of more than 50 countries, including the United States, to step down.
Pompeo said the Venezuela topic was raised during discussions on ways to respond to Moscow’s increased foreign military activity in places such as the Black Sea, where Russia seized three Ukrainian naval vessels last November.
Venezuela’s deputy foreign minister, Ivan Gil, said on Thursday that Russian forces would stay in Venezuela as long as needed and did not rule out the possibility more could be added, Interfax news agency reported.