Clinton to attend Brussels NATO meeting on Friday

3rd December 2009, Comments 0 comments

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend a "very important" meeting of NATO foreign ministers on Friday, her office said, as Washington seeks further allied reinforcements for Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON - The Brussels meeting, the first between Clinton and her 28 NATO counterparts, follows an expected announcement from US President Barack Obama that he is sending another 30,000 troops to Afghanistan.

The United States is counting on its allies -- more than 40 countries have troops in Afghanistan -- and particularly European nations to provide up to 10,000 troops to meet recommendations by the top US and NATO officer there.

But so far US allies are only expected to be able to muster between 4,000 and 5,000 extra troops, some of which are already in Afghanistan as temporary reinforcements, a NATO officer said.

Ministers will also meet Friday with counterparts from countries who are not members of the military alliance but contribute troops to the 112,000-strong NATO-led International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

Friday's gathering was a "very important coordination meeting" for future Afghan deployments, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said, adding that Clinton will leave Washington on Thursday.

NATO military officers are to meet in southern Belgium on December 7 to rubber stamp the commitments already in the pipeline.


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