The United States intends to send many more combat forces to Afghanistan next year, regardless of whether troop levels in Iraq are cut further this year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday.
It is the first time the Bush administration has made such a commitment for 2009. Gates, speaking to reporters on his way to Muscat, Oman, from a NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, said President Bush made the pledge at the summit on Thursday.
Bush was not specific about the number of additional troops that would go to Afghanistan in 2009, Gates said. The United States now has about 31,000 troops there — the most since the war began in October 2001 — and has been pressing the allies to contribute more. Until now, the heavy commitment of U.S. forces in Iraq has been a constraint on the ability to increase U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan. But Gates said he did not believe that would be the case in 2009.
Well the new president will spend a whole term trying to fix the things George W. Bush did the last ten years and the man never stops screwing up till the very last moment!
If the people of Skopje need to blame somebody for all the lies and the empty promises here are the leading two, one is American the other wished all his life to be American. The first is going fast down to the unwanted the second?
Russian President Vladimir Putin struck a conciliatory note in talks with NATO leaders on Friday, claiming that a new Cold War was in “nobody’s interests” despite terse disagreements over the future expansion of the alliance and U.S. moves to install missile defense bases in eastern Europe.
Speaking to reporters at NATO’s summit meeting in Bucharest, Putin warned that the proposed extension of NATO membership to the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia would be seen in Moscow as a direct threat to Russian security.
“I heard them saying today that the expansion is not directed against Russia. But it’s the potential, not intentions that matters,” Putin said, The Associated Press reported. But Putin insisted Russia, which agreed a deal Thursday allowing the transit of non-lethal NATO supplies across its territory to Afghanistan, was prepared to cooperate with NATO providing its interests were taken into account. “Let’s be friends, guys, and engage in an honest dialogue,” Putin said. “We want to be heard, and we want see problems that divide us solved. None of the global players Europe, the United States or Russia is interested in returning to the past. And we have no ideological differences.”
Putting a missile umbrella on the boarders of Russia is not exactly a …friendly move!
New violence has broken out in a volatile Tibetan region of western China, leaving at least one government official seriously injured the official Xinhua News Agency reported Friday.
An overseas Tibet activist group said eight people had been killed in the incident, citing a source among Tibetan exiles in India. It said police opened fire on hundreds of Buddhist monks and lay people who marched on local government offices to demand the release of two monks detained for possessing photographs of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader.
Xinhua made no mention of deaths or injuries among protesters, but said a “riot” had flared up Thursday night outside government offices in the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture high in the mountains in Sichuan province along the border with Tibet.
Are we going to stay still and watch again? Perhaps it comes the time to seriously think boycotting the Olympics.
Zimbabwe‘s ruling Zanu-PF party has given its backing to President Robert Mugabe’s participation in a possible run-off vote.
The party’s top leaders met to decide how to react to election results that have yet to be announced, six days after the presidential poll. The opposition MDC claims its leader received enough votes to win outright.
There had been speculation that Mr. Mugabe would stand aside rather than face a second poll. The elections also saw the ruling party lose its majority in parliament for the first time since independence in 1980. The MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) says it intends to ask the High Court to order the immediate release of results of the presidential poll.
It says its candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, took 50.3% of the vote. An independent projection says Mr. Tsvangirai gained 49%, just below the threshold, with Mr. Mugabe on 42%.
Why I’m not surprised? They stole, killed, tortured and raped for so long with Mugabe that they cannot change him now!
Russian President Vladimir Putin is meeting leaders of the NATO alliance in Romania, his first and last at such a summit as Russian head of state.
The talks come after NATO accepted US plans for a missile defense shield on European soil – opposed by Russia. But it also failed to agree a blueprint for membership for Georgia and Ukraine – which Russia also opposes. Russia said the alliance’s promise of eventual membership to its neighbors was “a huge strategic mistake”.
The biggest fear for the Russians has been the American plan for the missile umbrella on their borders and somehow this is going to be Bush’s administration last and biggest failure with a little help from Germany and France!
About time to show that the …old Europe is here and strong!
Everything now depends on Skopje, if they want to prove what suspected for so long that they want to base a republic on lies they will continue their hard line, if they want to live in a modern world and become legitimate members of Europe then they have to negotiate and perhaps apologize for all said and done the last few years and especially the last weeks.
PM Costas Karamanlis and FM Dora Bakoyannis look pensive during the NATO summit in Bucharest, where Greece blocked FYROM’s attempt to join the alliance until the two neighbors settle their name dispute.
Greece invited the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) last night to return to the negotiating table and settle the longstanding name dispute between the two countries, less than 24 hours after Athens used its veto at a NATO summit in Romania to block Skopje’s attempt to join the alliance.
In a rare public address last night, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis tried to assure Greece’s neighbors that it still wants to resolve the name issue but also made it clear that Athens would not be a pushover, as it demonstrated by vetoing FYROM’s accession late on Wednesday night.
«United, with belief in our strength, we battled hard but successfully,» Karamanlis said in a televised address from Bucharest shortly after 8 p.m.
«With resolve and determination, we are moving along the right lines so that we can achieve the final national goal: a solution to the problem.»