World Bulletin / News Desk
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden announced "changes" to U.S. foreign policy on Saturday that emphasised diplomacy over military power as a new tone but also implied its military force around world.
He delivered a major foreign policy speech at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, touching on Washington's relations with Europe, Iran and Russia, among other topics, reported Reuters
"I come to Europe on behalf of a new administration determined to set a new tone in Washington, and in America's relations around the world," Biden told a security conference in Munich, Germany.
But, Biden also made clear the U.S. was still prepared to use military force under the name of "to protect its national security".
Delivering the Obama administration's first major foreign policy speech, Biden effectively repudiated former President George W. Bush's "with us or against us" foreign policy. Biden's speech also tried to turn the page on the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and Bush's scepticism over climate change that alienated many Europeans.
There had been much speculation before the conference that Biden would announce the suspension or review of the former Bush administration plans to build a missile defence shield in eastern Europe, a move that angered Russia.
But, he stressed: "We will do so in consultation with our NATO allies and Russia."
Biden is due to hold talks with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov on Sunday before returning to Washington, the most high-profile contacts between Moscow and the new Obama administration, Reuters said.
Moscow has sent contradictory signals over what kind of relationship it wants with the new Obama administration -- first suspending the deployment of missiles on its Polish border, and then appearing to engineer the closure of an important U.S. military base in Kyrgyzstan, analysts said.
On Iran, Biden said there must be a united effort by the international community to convince Iran to abandon its nuclear programme, which the West believes is a cover to build an atomic bomb and Tehran insists is for the peaceful generation of electricity.
Willing to Iran talks
Biden has said that Washington is open to talks with Iran during his speech but also called on U.S. allies for united efforts against Iran.
"The Iranian people are a great people. The Persian civilization is a great civilization. But Iran has acted in ways that are not conducive to peace in the region or to the prosperity of its people; its illicit nuclear program is but one of those manifestations. Our administration is reviewing policy toward Iran, but this much is clear: We will be willing to talk."
"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 programme and support for terrorism and there will be meaningful incentives," he said
Two state solution
US vice president said that the United States would work to achieve a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians.
"It is long time past for us to secure a just Two State solution," he said, "We will work to achieve it, and to defeat the extremists who would perpetuate the conflict."
He added that building on the positive elements of the Arab Peace initiative put forward by Saudi Arabia, they will work toward a broader regional peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
Calls for Guantanamo
While promising that Washington would consult and listen more to its allies, he said it would also ask for more from them, for example by taking in inmates from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo, Cuba, which President Barack Obama has said will be closed within a year.
"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," he said, "For example, we will be asking others to take responsibility for some of those now at Guantanamo as we determine to close it."