Germany must be flexible over Afghanistan: Rice

29th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

29 November 2006, Riga (dpa) - NATO members including Germany must ask themselves how much they can contribute to the mission of stabilizing Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Riga. Germany's contribution to date was very respectful, but all NATO members must show flexibility and mutual support, Rice said in an interview with Germany's ZDF television. At the same time, NATO had to accept that there would be differing points of view among me

29 November 2006

Riga (dpa) - NATO members including Germany must ask themselves how much they can contribute to the mission of stabilizing Afghanistan, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Riga.

Germany's contribution to date was very respectful, but all NATO members must show flexibility and mutual support, Rice said in an interview with Germany's ZDF television.

At the same time, NATO had to accept that there would be differing points of view among member states on several issues, she said.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has asked NATO members to commit more troops for action in southern Afghanistan, where its forces have been combatting a resurgent Taliban in the last few months.

The current NATO mission in Afghanistan - its first military intervention outside of Europe - was cause for "celebration" given that, only a few years ago, such a NATO operation would have been unthinkable, Rice said.

The alliance had shown that it was prepared for the challenges of the 21st century, but it must adapt further to be able to combat global terrorism, she said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was expected to face pressure at the NATO summit over the mission of German forces in Afghanistan.

Ahead of the visit, Merkel said she would argue for a "clever linkage of security and reconstruction," while fending off demands for more German forces in Afghanistan or for their redeployment from the relatively secure north to the more violent south.

Germany currently has some 2,700 forces in Afghanistan, chiefly helping to protect reconstruction projects in the northern regions.

DPA

Subject: German news

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