BRUSSELS (AP) – The NATO chief said Thursday that all those responsible for the deadly assault on the Capitol in Washington must be held accountable, and that he is confident that US institutions will rise to the occasion.
“Democracy must always prevail over violence, and I am confident that America’s democratic institutions will respond to this challenge,” Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels.
The assault on the Capitol when legislators certified the electoral victory of president-elect Joe Biden left five dead. In accusing President Donald Trump of inciting the mob that stormed the building, several lawmakers said the president represented a “clear and imminent danger.”
Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian prime minister, said what happened in Washington last week is “absolutely unacceptable.” It was “scandalous, and the result of the election must be respected and we must ensure that our democratic values are fully respected.”
The United States is by far the largest and most influential member of NATO, but Trump provoked surprise and consternation in many allies by scolding them for defense spending or taking unilateral measures such as the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and northern Syria. .
Stoltenberg did not name Trump, preferring to speak of the incoming administration.
“I look forward to a peaceful transition and I look forward to working with Joe Biden,” Stoltenberg said. He added that the president-elect “has a strong commitment to our transatlantic cooperation, with NATO, and I know that he strongly supports the idea of further strengthening cooperation between North America and Europe.”