Archive for the ‘Munich’ Category

NATO commander: Afghanistan drug raids imminent

February 8, 2009

In an effort to strike at a key income source for Taliban militants, the top NATO commander said Sunday that operations to attack drug lords and labs in Afghanistan will begin within the “next several days.”

Gen. John Craddock, who also heads the U.S. European Command, also said that the U.S. and its allies are making progress in their efforts to fill the need for more troops, equipment and intelligence gathering in Afghanistan. He, however, would not disclose any specific commitments he got this weekend as world leaders met at a security conference here.

By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer

NATO defense ministers, during a meeting last fall in Hungary, authorized troops in Afghanistan to launch the drug attacks, but there had been questions about whether allies would be willing to follow through. Money from Afghanistan’s booming illicit drug trade has been blamed for pumping up to $100 million a year into the coffers of resurgent Taliban fighters.

“Activities and actions will occur soon that will be helpful,” Craddock told reporters. “We’ve got to get started.”

The U.S. delegation to the security conference, led by Vice President Joe Biden, was expected to talk to allies this weekend about the ongoing need for support in Afghanistan. Craddock said he still needs about 5,000 NATO troops to bolster Afghan forces during the coming elections, and he is confident he will get them from other NATO nations.

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America Promises World “New Tone” In Foreign Policy; “We Will Listen”

February 7, 2009

Vice President Joe Biden was the point man Saturday at an annual meeting of international leaders in Munich, promising a new direction of inclusion and understanding in American international affairs.

Biden said the new foreign policy will accentuate diplomacy over military power amid hopes of breaking from the Bush Administration’s unilateralism and repairing ties with European allies.

Biden said:

“I come to Europe on behalf of a new administration, an administration that is determined to set a new tone not only in Washington, but in America’s relations around the world. That new tone is rooted in a strong bipartisanship to meet these common challenges. And we recognise that meeting these challenges is not a luxury but an absolute necessity.”

“We will engage. We will listen. We will consult. America needs the world, just as I believe the world needs America.”


(AP) — Vice President Joe Biden reached out to the world Saturday, saying the U.S. is open for talks with Iran and Russia to repair relations, and willing to work with allies to solve world problems.

But in his first major foreign policy speech for the new administration, the Democrat also warned that the U.S. stands ready to take pre-emptive action against Tehran if it does not abandon its nuclear ambitions and support for terrorism.

And while he said it is time to mend fences with Moscow, he said the U.S. continues ”to develop missile defenses to counter a growing Iranian capability, provided the technology is proven and it is cost-effective.”

The much anticipated speech got high marks from world leaders in the audience at this annual security conference.

”I think Vice President Biden came to Munich today in a spirit of partnership,” British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told AP Television News. ”I think he set an ambitious agenda with big goals and high objectives, and he called and challenged us to work with him. I think that’s the right spirit.”

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From Die Welt:


Russia says it is ready for more arms cuts

Iran, Middle East Waiting More Than Good Words From Obama Camp

Obama, Biden: “a new tone in America’s relations around the world”

Biden Says U.S. Will Pursue Missile Plan Russia Opposes

US Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the International Conference ... 
US Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the International Conference on Security Policy, Sicherheitskonferenz, at the hotel ‘Bayerischer Hof’ in Munich, southern Germany, on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009. Many notable leaders participate in the 45th annual Munich Security Conference until Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009.(AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)