U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently hosted German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at the State Department. As staunch allies, they discussed both countries' cooperation on a broad range of issues.
First among them, was the ongoing NATO military operation in Afghanistan in which Germany has the third largest contingent of troops. Both Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Westerwelle deeply regretted the recent loss of French and American soldiers in Afghanistan. "But we should never forget why we are in Afghanistan," said Foreign Minister Westerwelle. It's so that "Afghanistan may never become a safe haven for terrorists worldwide again." He went on to say that "we have to protect our own security and our own freedom and way of life in the Western community."
Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Westerwelle also discussed their concerns regarding Iran and the steps that country has taken toward furthering its nuclear weapons ambitions. "We are both firmly committed to the dual-track approach, pressure to bring about meaningful engagement by Iran on its program," said Secretary Clinton, "and we are closely coordinating as we implement sanctions." Mr. Westerwelle noted the need for the European Union to pass tough new sanctions against Iran for continuing to pursue nuclear weapons. A nuclear Iran, he said, is "not acceptable -- not for the region, not for the world."
With regard to Syria, where President Bashar Assad's forces have massacred some 5,000 people, both leaders agreed that the violence must be stopped. The United States and Germany support the efforts of the Arab League to solve the crisis. Furthermore, it is incumbent on the United Nations Security Council to clearly condemn the violence by the Syrian regime.
On matters closer to Europe's shores, Secretary Clinton thanked Germany for its leadership role in resolving the debt crisis facing the European Union. The United States supports Germany as it leads the way for all of the Eurozone countries to regain their economic footing and to implement measures that will restore sustainable and balanced growth.
The United States and Germany will remain strong allies, committed to upholding their NATO commitments and their transatlantic cooperation on economic and other issues.