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
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
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.