Hillary Clinton in Brussels for Nato Council

6th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

For the Europeans this was their first meeting with the new head of America's foreign policy since President Obama came to power.

The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Brussels for the Nato Council. On Wednesday evening she attended a working diner together with Nato and European Union colleagues. On Thursday the focus was on Afghanistan and relations with Russia.

Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht presided over the dinner at the Egmont Palace. For the Europeans this was their first meeting with the new head of America's foreign policy since president Obama came to power.

Ms Clinton spoke for three hours with her EU and NATO partners.

Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht noted that the US Secretary of State displayed great knowledge of the most important dossiers and was willing to listen.

It was also an opportunity to hear more about US plans for Afghanistan and the troubled relationship with Russia.

The EU and NATO foreign ministers were treated to a dinner with lamb and asparagus on the menu. As desert they ate "dame blanche" ice cream.

Clinton was supposed to have a private meeting with the Belgian foreign minister too, but she landed late in Brussels and that meeting was cancelled.

De Gucht also said that he clearly noted that the US administration displayed a new attitude towards the Middle East and Russia which remains a world power: "The US wants a dialogue with Russia" he said.

Nato Council in Evere

On Thursday the foreign ministers of the 26 NATO countries are meeting in formal session in Brussels.

The meeting will last all day.

Nato put its relations with Russia on ice following the invasion of Georgia, but in Brussels the foreign ministers agreed to renew their relationship and reconvene the Nato-Russia Council.

In addition to relations with Russia the foreign ministers are also focusing on Afghanistan. An extra Nato effort is expected to coincide with the staging of the Afghan presidential elections in August.

On Thursday evening Clinton met with José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission.


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