U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has reaffirmed the United States' commitment to European security, vowing to work with NATO allies and Russia to defend against new threats such as terrorism, cyber attacks and climate change.
Speaking at a French military academy in Paris, Secretary Clinton Friday dismissed concerns that Europe has "receded" on the Obama administration's list of priorities, calling European security an "anchor of U.S. foreign policy." Clinton also made clear a determination to improve relations with Russia. She said the United States and Russia have made progress on a range of mutual security concerns, including stabilizing Afghanistan, addressing Iran's nuclear program and negotiating a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Clinton reiterated U.S. opposition to Russia's call for new security treaties for Europe, but said the U.S. is committed to exploring ways to improve NATO's partnership with Russia and ways to cooperate with Russia on a missile defense system in Europe.
In an interview with VOA after the speech, Secretary Clinton said she would like to see a "very close relationship" between NATO and Russia. She said NATO has a great interest in working more closely with Russia.During the address, Clinton repeated assurances that NATO expansion and the United States' new missile defense plan do not threaten Moscow. Russia has viewed both as endangering its security.
Clinton said in her speech that NATO will remain open to any country that aspires to become a member and can meet entry requirements.She said U.S. and Russian interests might not always overlap, but pledged to seek constructive ways to discuss and manage differences, such as Moscow's support for two breakaway Georgian regions since the brief Russia-Georgia conflict in 2008.
Secretary Clinton said the U.S. and its allies also need to work with Russia to develop a new security framework for arms control. She expressed concern over Russia's decision two years ago to drop the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, a key security accord.Clinton met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy before her speech Friday at the military academy. The speech outlined six core principles in the U.S. approach to Europe: respecting states' sovereignty, eliminating divisions between countries, working together to defend against attacks, practicing military transparency, preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and protecting human rights. Clinton said the U.S. is working to "expand the zone of democracy and stability across Europe," highlighting efforts in the Balkans, Ukraine, the Russian Caucasus and Cyprus.