US President Barack Obama outlined the principles of the new American strategy on Afghanistan for the public today.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier responded as follows today, 27 March, on the sidelines of the informal EU Foreign Ministers Meeting in Hluboká nad Vltavou in the Czech Republic:
"We welcome the new direction taken by the US Afghanistan strategy. It draws the right conclusions from the work in the country to date and provides a strong signal for a new concerted effort on the part of the international community.
Absolute strategic consistency is vital for our joint success. The new US strategy provides a great number of openings for aligning our approaches.
I particularly welcome the strong emphasis on the necessary balance between civil and military efforts. Furthermore, we staunchly support a policy that does not isolate the crises in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but which seeks to resolve them in their regional context.
It remains our common goal to establish self-sustaining structures that prevent Afghanistan from slipping back to the times when it was a breeding ground for international terrorism. In this connection the Afghan Government will have to shoulder ever more responsibility on its own.
Next week's international conference on Afghanistan in The Hague will give us an opportunity to take stock in an honest manner and to discuss the new US strategy in detail."