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Obama speech: Reaction in quotes

US President Barack Obama has announced an additional deployment of 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. The following is the reaction so far to his speech.

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL

President Obama's decision to substantially increase the numbers of US forces in the Nato-led operation is proof of his resolve; the overall approach he laid out is a broader political strategy for success. The United States' contribution to the Nato-led mission has always been substantial; it is now even more important.

But this is not a US mission alone: America's allies in Nato have shared the risks, costs and burdens of this mission from the beginning. As the US increases its commitment, I am confident that the other allies, as well as our partners in the mission, will also make a substantial increase in their contribution.

GENERAL STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL, US AND NATO COMMANDER IN AFGHANISTAN

The Afghanistan-Pakistan review led by the president has provided me with a clear military mission and the resources to accomplish our task.

The clarity, commitment and resolve outlined in the president's address are critical steps toward bringing security to Afghanistan and eliminating terrorist safe havens that threaten regional and global security.

HANIF ATMAR, AFGHAN INTERIOR MINISTER

That kind of timeframe will give us momentum. We are hoping that there will be clarity in terms of long-term growth needs of the Afghan national security forces and what can be achieved in 18 months.

SAID TAYEB JAWAD, AFGHAN AMBASSADOR TO THE US

This is along the line of what the Afghan people are demanding.

It's nothing new. Afghanistan has never received a blank cheque so far. If we look at President Karzai's inaugural speech, he indicated that corruption will not be tolerated.

It is a demand of the Afghan people too, for the Afghan government to improve its capacity to deliver services and fight corruption.

QARI YOUSUF AHAMDI, TALIBAN SPOKESMAN

Obama will witness lots of coffins heading to America from Afghanistan.

Their hope to control Afghanistan by military means will not become reality. The extra 30,000 troops that will come to Afghanistan will provoke stronger resistance and fighting.

They will withdraw shamefully. They cannot achieve their hopes and goals.

PAKISTAN FOREIGN MINISTRY STATEMENT

Pakistan looks forward to engaging closely with [the] US in understanding the full import of the new strategy and to ensure that there would be no adverse fallout on Pakistan.

GORDON BROWN, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER

I call on all our allies to unite behind President Obama's strategy. Britain will continue to play its full part in persuading other countries to offer troops to the Afghanistan campaign.

NICOLAS SARKOZY, FRENCH PRESIDENT

It was a courageous, determined and lucid speech which gives new momentum to the international engagement and opens new prospects.

France expects clear commitments from the Afghan authorities in response to the exceptional commitment of the international community: in the areas of governance, social and economic development and the battle against drug trafficking.

JOHN FAULKNER, AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE MINISTER

I'm very hopeful that the increase in troops will make a very significant difference on the ground in Afghanistan. This new strategy provides a solid framework for refocusing the coalition's efforts and of course for achieving success in Afghanistan.

MICHAEL STEELE, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN

Although this decision took far too long and it should not have, I am glad the president will finally provide General McChrystal with the troops he needs. However, tonight's speech must be the beginning, not the end, of the case President Obama makes to the American people as to why this is, as he said during the campaign, "a war we have to win".

JOHN KERRY, SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN

I believe that the president defined a narrower mission tonight, not an open-ended nation-building exercise. A key component of that mission is providing that the troops will only clear and hold in places where there is capacity to build and transfer beneath them and that there will be significant partnering with Afghans in all of these efforts. That includes finding reliable Afghan partners in governance. If these criteria are met, then there is a chance for success.

KARL EIKENBERRY, US AMBASSADOR TO AFGHANISTAN

I strongly support the decisions President Obama is announcing today to provide clarity and focus to the US mission in Afghanistan. My team and I will energetically implement this strategy in closest possible partnership with the Afghan people, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Nato's International Security Assistance Force, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and other international partners.

ARLEN SPECTER, DEMOCRATIC SENATOR

I disagree with the president's two key assumptions: that we can transfer responsibility to Afghanistan after 18 months and that our Nato allies will make a significant contribution. It is unrealistic to expect the United States to be out in 18 months so there is really no exit strategy. This venture is not worth so many American lives or the billions it will add to our deficit.

JOHN MCCAIN, REPUBLICAN SENATOR AND FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

A withdrawal date only emboldens al-Qaeda and the Taliban, while dispiriting our Afghan partners and making it less likely that they will risk their lives to take our side in this fight.

SWEDISH EU PRESIDENCY, STATEMENT

The European Union stands ready to work closely with the United States and other parts of the international community in addressing the challenges in Afghanistan.

A positive development will require a combination of political, military and civilian/development instruments, the main purpose of which should be to enable the government of Afghanistan to gradually assume full responsibility for the stabilisation and development of the country.



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