Remarks With British Foreign Secretary David Miliband

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 18, 2009

SECRETARY CLINTON: Hello. Well, I am pleased that the foreign secretary has come for another visit to further our cooperative working relationship in preparation for the March 31 meeting in The Hague and in preparation for the G-20 meeting, the NATO summit, the EU-U.S. meeting. We have a lot on our agenda. Welcome, David.

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Thank you very much. It’s really good to be here. We’re looking forward to our discussions and hearing how you’re building on the very strong, positive impression that the Administration and you, in particular, have made right across Europe. So, glad to be here.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you all very much.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) do you think NATO will put forward more troops in Afghanistan if President Obama asks?

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I think that we have discussed this in the European community, European Union and in NATO as well. We’re very struck that the Obama Administration wants to have a discussion of objectives, of strategy, and better resources, and they want to do it in that order. Obviously in the UK, we have about 12 percent of (inaudible) forces in Afghanistan.

I think what I would say is that the greatest increase in troops over the next few years is going to come from Afghans, because it’s the Afghan National Army that is the focus of development. But some European countries are increasing their troop numbers, but I think there’s a real sense that the Administration is serious about consultation and collaboration about all aspects of the objectives of the strategy as well as the resources, and that’s greatly appreciated.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And I would only add, Arshad, that what we have is an integrated strategy to achieve the objectives so that the civilian capacity that is going to be important for assisting in the training of the Afghan National Army as well as the police in supporting governance, rule of law, judicial systems, economic opportunities is also on the table. So we’re going to have a thorough discussion leading up to the March 31st meeting because we believe that the objectives and the strategic review should lead in making clear what the resources will be, and we’ll get into the specifics as we move forward. Thank you all very much.

PRN: 2009/232