President Barack Obama is seeking to assure United States allies that President-elect Donald Trump will honor the country’s international alliances when he takes office in January.
He told reporters that Donald Trump had “expressed a great interest” in maintaining the US commitment to NATO.
During the campaign, Donald Trump said he might abandon a guarantee of protection for fellow NATO countries.
The Republican candidate’s statements alarmed the Baltic states, which fear Russian aggression.
Article 5 of the NATO treaty commits allies to come to the aid of a member state under attack.
In July, the Republican candidate said the US would only come to the aid of allies if they have “fulfilled their obligations to us”.
The US has long been pressing its European allies to spend more on defense.
President Obama was speaking hours before his arrival in Greece, on his final official overseas trip.
He will later travel on to Germany and then to Peru.
Security has been stepped up in the Greek capital Athens, where anti-US protests are planned.
Barack Obama is expected to use his final foreign visit to calm nerves over the forthcoming administration of Donald Trump.
Donald Trump’s surprise election victory has raised concern among some world leaders after a string of controversial statements he made during his campaign.
At a White House news conference on November 14, President Obama said Donald Trump had “expressed a great interest in maintaining our core strategic relationships”.
He said this included “strong and robust NATO” partnerships, which he said would convey “enormous continuity” to the world.
The president said that in last week’s White House meeting with his successor, he had urged Donald Trump to send “some signals of unity… and to reach out to minority groups or women or others that were concerned about the tenor of the campaign”.
President Obama said he “absolutely” had concerns about Donald Trump but urged his fellow Democrats to accept the result and “recognize that that is how democracy works”.
On November 15, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed confidence about the Western alliance’s future.
“President-elect Donald Trump stated during the election campaign that he is a big fan of NATO, and I am certain that he will be a president… who will live up to all the commitments of the United States in the alliance,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin said on November 14 that President Vladimir Putin had spoken by phone to Donald Trump and agreed to work with him towards improving US-Russia relations.
Donald Trump has repeatedly praised Vladimir Putin, describing him as a stronger leader than Barack Obama.
Greek minister of state Nikos Pappas said there was surprise in Greece as elsewhere at the election result, but added: “Everybody would be expecting the US government to continue to be on our side.”
“The mood of Greek people for this political change is <<wait and see>>,” he said.
High on the agenda in talks between Barack Obama and PM Alexis Tsipras on November 15 will be Greece’s crippling debt problems.
The US and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have urged restructuring of the debt but face resistance from EU states, particularly Germany.
As preparations for Barack Obama’s visit went ahead, Greek anarchist and left-wing groups announced they were planning protest marches “against the representative of imperialist powers”.
Police banned public gatherings in central Athens and near the city’s international airport until after Barack Obama’s departure. Extra officers are also being deployed.
The last official visit to Greece of a sitting US president – by Bill Clinton in 1999 – was marked by extensive violent protests.
Donald Trump has said Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy plan in Syria would trigger World War Three.
The Republican also said the US should focus on defeating ISIS rather than removing Syria’s president.
Hillary Clinton has proposed a no-fly zone over Syria. The top US military chief has said that could spell conflict with Russian jets in the region.
The Clinton campaign accused Donald Trump of “playing to Americans’ fears”.
The New York billionaire also attacked Republicans for not uniting behind his candidacy.
“If we had party unity, we couldn’t lose this election to Hillary Clinton,” Donald Trump told Reuters at Trump National Doral golf resort in Miami, Florida.
He struck an apocalyptic tone when criticizing his Democratic rival’s plan to control Syrian air space.
“You’re going to end up in World War Three over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton,” he said.
“You’re not fighting Syria anymore, you’re fighting Syria, Russia and Iran, all right?
“Russia is a nuclear country, but a country where the nukes work as opposed to other countries that talk.”
Donald Trump suggested there should be a refocus away from the long-held US position of trying to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying: “What we should do is focus on IS. We should not be focusing on Syria.”
He also suggested Hillary Clinton would be unable to talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin after her sharp criticism of him.
Donald Trump questioned “how she is going to go back and negotiate with this man who she has made to be so evil” if she is elected president on November 8.
The Clinton campaign dismissed the criticism, saying both Republican and Democratic national security experts have denounced Donald Trump as unfit to be commander-in-chief.
“Once again, he is parroting Putin’s talking points and playing to Americans’ fears, all while refusing to lay out any plans of his own for defeating ISIS or alleviating humanitarian suffering in Syria,” Hillary Clinton spokesman Jesse Lehrich said in a statement.
Donald Trump’s warning of confrontation with Russia echoes concerns raised last month at a congressional hearing by the highest-ranking military officer in the US armed forces.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Marine General Joseph Dunford told lawmakers a “no-fly zone” in Syria could spell war with Russia.
“Right now, senator, for us to control all of the airspace in Syria it would require us to go to war, against Syria and Russia,” he told the Senate Arms Services Committee.
“That’s a pretty fundamental decision that certainly I’m not going to make.”
At the final presidential debate in Nevada on October 19, Hillary Clinton outlined her support for the measure.
“A no-fly zone can save lives and hasten the end of the conflict,” she said on stage.
However, in a 2013 speech to Goldman Sachs, Hillary Clinton said establishing a no-fly zone would “kill a lot of Syrians”, according to a transcript disclosed by WikiLeaks.
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has detailed his foreign policy just one day after winning in five primaries.
In a speech in Washington on April 27, Donald Trump said he would pursue an “America First” policy.
The New York businessman called the foreign policy of President Barack Obama’s administration “a complete and total disaster”.
On April 26, Donald Trump called himself the Republican “presumptive nominee” after his primary wins.
He claimed victories in Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Before the speech, Donald Trump promised it would not be a “Trump doctrine”, and that he would retain some flexibility to make changes if elected.
Photo Getty Images
Much of his speech focused on what he called the “weakness, confusion and disarray” of the Obama administration, and his hope of reversing it.
Before the audience in Washington, he vowed to “shake the rust off America’s foreign policy”.
Donald Trump said that, under his administration “their days are numbered – I won’t tell them when, and I won’t tell them how”.
He had previously said he would weaken ISIS by cutting off their access to oil, and supported waterboarding and other strong interrogation methods against them. He did not return to these proposals on today’s speech.
“Containing the spread of radical Islam must be a major foreign policy goal of the United States and indeed, the world,” Donald Trump said, adding that he would work closely with US allies in the Middle East to combat extremism.
He also said that new talks would be sought with the US’ allies in NATO to try and reshape the organization’s structure and discuss a “rebalancing” of US financing towards it.
Donald Trump said he would also aim to hold talks with Russia to seek common ground, possibly over Islamist extremism.
“Some say the Russians can’t be reasonable,” he said.
“I intend to find out.”
Donald Trump said China “respects strength, and by letting them take advantage of us economically like they are doing, we are losing all their respect”. He said he would seek to “fix our relations with China” but did not suggest how.
On US allies, he said: “The countries we defend must pay for the cost of this defense.
“If not, the US must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves. We have no choice.”
Speaking to the New York Times last month about the US-Japan relationship, Donald Trump said: “If we’re attacked, they do not have to come to our defense, if they’re attacked, we have to come totally to their defense. And that is a, that’s a real problem.”
Donald Trump once said he was his own best foreign policy adviser, but, in recent months, has expanded his backroom team. Some of his appointments have proved controversial.
His team is led by Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama.
Another member, retired Gen. Joseph Schmitz, resigned from the military in 2005 amid accusations of misconduct. However, Joseph Schmitz was never charged with wrongdoing.
Another adviser, Walid Phares, was criticized when he was named as part of Mitt Romney’s foreign policy team in 2011.
Muslim advocacy groups took issue with Walid Phares’s close ties to right-wing Christian militia groups during the Lebanese civil war.