In the first major foreign policy speech of the Obama administration, Vice President Joe Biden has addressed the annual Munich Security Conference:
Promising a new spirit of cooperation and a new tone, pasted below are key extracts of Mr Biden's remarks:
The five top challenges facing our young century:
- "The spread of mass destruction weapons and dangerous diseases;
- A growing gap between rich and poor;
- Ethnic animosities and failed states;
- A rapidly warming planet and uncertain supplies of energy, food, water;
- The challenge to freedom and security from radical fundamentalism."
America will compromise its ideals in delivering security
"America will not torture. We will uphold the rights of those we bring to justice. And we will close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Tough choices lie ahead. 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. For example, we will be asking others to take responsibility for some of those now at Guantanamo. Our security is shared. So, too, is our responsibility to defend it."
Iran can come out of the cold if it gives up its nuclear programme
"We are willing to talk to Iran, and to offer a very clear choice: continue down your current course and there will be pressure and isolation; abandon your illicit nuclear program and support for terrorism and there will be meaningful incentives."
America will defeat Islamic extremists as it offers friendship to the Muslim world
"In the Muslim world, a small number of violent extremists are beyond the call of reason. We will defeat them. But hundreds of millions of hearts and minds share the values we hold dear. We will reach them. President Obama has made clear that we will seek a new way forward based on mutual interest and mutual respect. It was not by accident that he gave his very first interview as President to Al-Arabiya.
[Earlier this week Hillary Clinton announced that her first foreign trip would be to a Muslim nation; Indonesia].
President Bush's missile defence programme will continue
"We will continue to develop missile defenses to counter a growing Iranian capability, provided the technology is proven to work and cost effective."
America will support a stronger defence role for the EU
"We also support the further strengthening of European defense, an increased role for the European Union in preserving peace and security, a fundamentally stronger NATO-EU partnership and deeper cooperation with countries outside the Alliance who share our common goals and principles."
We do not recognise a Russian 'sphere of influence'
"The United States will not recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. We will not recognize a sphere of influence. It will remain our view that sovereign states have the right to make their own decisions and choose their own alliances."
> Full speech here.