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Clinton to attend key Nato talks

In foreign policy, Middle East, Moscow, NATO, news, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on March 5, 2009 at 3:50 am

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is participating in her first meeting with her Nato counterparts since the Obama administration took office.

This is an opportunity for Mrs Clinton to introduce herself as the alliance prepares for a crucial summit in France and Germany at the start of next month.

This is an opportunity for Mrs Clinton to introduce herself as the alliance prepares for a crucial summit in France and Germany at the start of next month.

Relations with Russia and Afghanistan will be the key items on the agenda for the gathering in Brussels.

This is an opportunity for Mrs Clinton to introduce herself as the alliance prepares for a crucial summit in France and Germany at the start of next month.

Nato remains the central pillar of the trans-Atlantic relationship.

But as its 60th birthday summit approaches, it is facing a critical military and political challenge in Afghanistan, where failure could call into question Nato’s whole credibility.

As the new Obama administration conducts its own Afghan policy review, the secretary of state will be eager to hear the opinions of her Nato counterparts.

But US foreign policy is now very much a team game and US Vice-President Joe Biden will be in Brussels next Tuesday for a more detailed exchange of views on Afghanistan.

Crucial role

It is Russia, though. that will dominate much of Thursday’s discussions.

Nato foreign ministers are expected to give a green light to the resumption of high-level ties with Moscow, curtailed after the Russian invasion of Georgia.

Nato will, nonetheless, be trying to show that more normal business with Russia does not mean that the alliance is abandoning countries like Georgia and Ukraine. Their foreign ministers will be here too.

But Moscow can no longer be ignored. Russia can play a crucial role in opening up new supply routes into Afghanistan. And these may prove invaluable as the US puts in more troops and the security of existing supply lines through Pakistan becomes more uncertain.

BBC

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