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Obama: Trump committed to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance; Dems should reflect on election loss

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Vouching for the successor he never imagined having, President Barack Obama on Monday sought to reassure an anxious nation and world that Donald Trump would maintain America's alliances and its status as the "indispensable nation".

Obama met with Trump on Thursday, and that conversation was a major subject during Monday's news conference. Though Obama has urged unity and said the US must root for Trump's success, the president's trip to Greece, Germany and Peru forces him to confront global concerns about the future of America's leadership.

Mr Obama said U.S. foreign policy remained quite stable despite changes in administration, in part because of the breadth of USA government interactions with other nations.

Trump questioned the USA commitment to the alliance during the presidential campaign, saying that European NATO members should pay more for their own defense.

But Obama said after his sit-down with Trump last week, the president-elect "expressed a great interest in maintaining our core strategic relationships, so one of the messages I will be able to deliver is his commitment to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation".

On a positive note, the president said he was encouraged by Trump's message of unity on election night and is ready to help him transition smoothly.

In Memoriam Gwen Ifill
In Memoriam Gwen Ifill

"There are certain elements of his temperament that are not going to serve him well unless he recognizes them and fixes them", Obama said of Trump.

He told journalists he thinks Mr Trump will try to "send some signals of unity" to people who were alienated by his controversial campaign.

He said Mr Trump will have more "time and space" than he had to make "judicious decisions". A series of racially charged incidents have also caused concern among those who have said Trump's candidacy emboldened bigots. "That's what it must continue to be", Obama said.

On the campaign trail, MrTrump described Mexicans as rapists and criminals, vowed to build a wall along the US's southern border and make Mexico pay for it, appeared to mock a reporter with a physical disability, and threatened to sue several women who accused him of assaulting them. "Given population distribution throughout the country, we have to compete everywhere, we have to show up everywhere", he said. "We're going to make sure that we finish what we started, that we don't let up in these last two months", he said.

Speaking at the United Nations in September, at a time when the U.S. presidential campaign was in full stride but a Trump victory seemed anything but certain, Obama had called on his fellow leaders to come to grips with the rising frustrations fueling populist movements.