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Biden launches new era of US diplomacy in Munich

Video by Oliver FARRY

Latest update : 2009-02-08

US Vice President Joe Biden outlined the new US administration’s foreign policy priorities in a speech to the Munich Security Conference, indicating a "new tone" that is more focused on co-operation and engagement than in recent years.

AFP - US Vice President Joe Biden said Saturday that the new US administration would set a "new tone" in its foreign relations but warned that other nations must also raise their game.
   
"I come to Europe on behalf of a new administration determined to set a new tone not only in Washington, but in America's relations around the world," Biden said at the international security conference in Munich.
   
But he added: "America will do more, but America will ask for more from our partners."
   
"As we seek a lasting framework for our common struggle against extremism, we will have to work cooperatively with nations around the world -- and we will need your help," Biden said in his first trip abroad since taking office along with Obama on January 20.
   
"As a great Irish poet once wrote, our world has changed utterly -- a terrible beauty has been born. We must change too."
   
As an example, Biden said that the United States would ask other countries to take in inmates from its Guantanamo Bay prison, which Obama has said he will close.
   
Biden reiterated Obama's position that Washington was willing to talk to Iran after three decades of frozen diplomatic relations, but he said that the Islamic republic must abandon its secret atomic programme.
   
"We will be willing to talk to Iran, and to offer a very clear choice:  continue down the current course and there will be continued pressure and isolation; abandon the illicit nuclear programme and your support for terrorism and there will be meaningful incentives," he said.
   
He said that Washington would press ahead with its missile defence programme, but only if it works and is not too expensive -- and also in consultation with Moscow, which has been angered by the plans.
   
"We will continue to develop missile defence to counter a growing Iranian capability, provided the technology is proven and it is cost effective. We will do so in consultation with you, our NATO allies, and with Russia," Biden said.
   
He also confirmed that Obama would attend a summit of the G20 group of advanced and developing nations in London on April 2, and said that Washington would "lead by example and act aggressively" on climate change.
 

Date created : 2009-02-07

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