Biden calls for joint commitment on Afghanistan from NATO allies 2009-03-10 18:36:13   Print

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (R) receives visiting U.S. Vice President Joe Biden at NATO headquarters in Brussels, capital of Belgium, March 10, 2009.(Xinhua/Wu Wei)
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    BRUSSELS, March 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday called for a joint commitment from NATO allies to a common strategy and common approach in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban-led insurgency and improve security on the ground.

    "When we build a strategy together, it works. Together we can handle not only Afghanistan, but many other threats in the 21st century," Biden said in his opening remarks in a session of the North Atlantic Council, NATO's decision-making body.

    Biden, who arrived in Brussels late Monday, said he came to NATO "primarily to listen and consult" with allies on a plan to stabilize Afghanistan that could be launched at the NATO summit on April 3-4.

    Meanwhile, the vice president said the U.S. is committed to building a "strong and coherent" NATO, stressing that "there is no ambiguity" from Washington about that.

    "We have common values," Biden said. "It's time for us to put them to work."

    He said that the United States and its European allies together must fight terrorism as terrorist attacks on U.S. soil or on Europe are viewed as strikes on the West.

    Warning that al-Qaida is "regenerating" with terrorist attacks from Afghanistan to Pakistan to India, Biden said that the U.S. is committed to its pledge to work out a "common and comprehensive approach" in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    The NAC meeting was expected to focus on international peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan and developments in neighboring Pakistan.

    The new U.S. administration is reviewing its policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, shifting the focus from Iraq to fighting Islamic militants in Afghanistan. U.S. President Barack Obama has approved plans to send an additional 17,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

    Washington's NATO allies are under pressure to send more troops to Afghanistan, but the Europeans are reluctant to do so. They are, however, more enthusiastic about sending additional police trainers, judges and judicial experts to the central Asian nation, which will hold a crucial presidential election in August.

    Before the NAC session, Biden met briefly with NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

    On Tuesday, the vice president was scheduled to have a working lunch with Javier Solana, the European Union foreign policy chief, and a meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy.

Editor: Du
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