U.S. vice president, British deputy PM discuss Afghanistan, other issues

12:39, September 24, 2010      

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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday discussed a wide range of issues with visiting British Deputy Prime Minister Nicholas Clegg including progress and next steps in Afghanistan, the White House said.

Biden thanked Clegg for "the outstanding contribution that British forces had made in Sangin," and they discussed progress and next steps in Afghanistan, the White House said in a press release.

The British troops handed over to U.S. forces on Sept. 20 the responsibility for security in the Sangin district in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan, where almost a third of the fallen British troops lost their lives since the invasion in 2001.

Biden and Clegg reviewed the strong defense ties between their countries, including the preparations for the upcoming NATO summit in November in Lisbon, Portugal, and welcomed the unanimous vote of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in favor of the U.S. -Britain Defense Trade Cooperation Treaty earlier this week, the White House said.

They also discussed the floods and ongoing humanitarian crisis in Pakistan and pledged their countries' "enduring support for the Pakistani people." They said in a joint statement that their countries "affirm their commitment to sustained long-term post- flood reconstruction in Pakistan, beyond the immediate humanitarian needs."

Addressing Wednesday at the UN high-level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals, Clegg committed the British government to reach 0.7 percent of GNI (gross national income) in aid from 2013, "a pledge we will enshrine in law."

Source: Xinhua


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