MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - International defense experts, ministers and more than a dozen heads of state or government met for a three-day security conference in Munich, discussing foreign policy issues including Iran’s nuclear program, the future of NATO and Russian-U.S. relations.
Following are some key quotes from the conference.
“The old carrot and stick cliche must be discarded.
“The United States should accept that countries of the region are calling for a chess game not a boxing game.”
“We will be 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 the illicit nuclear program and your support for terrorism and there will be meaningful incentives.”
“We welcome any steps aimed at political settlement of the Iranian nuclear program.”
Called Washington’s offer a “very, very important change.”
“The Iranians have to think very, very carefully about the meaning of that and contribute also with a positive response.”
Referring to the U.S. offer: “We are ready to walk this path together. But we are also ready for tougher sanctions if there is no progress.”
“We need the Russians to help so that sanctions against Iran are effective...We have only one solution left, reinforce sanctions against Iran and link Russia to this process.
MISSILE SHIELD/U.S.-RUSSIAN RELATIONS
“It’s time...to press the reset button and to revisit the many areas where we can and should work together.”
“We will continue to develop missile defenses to counter a growing Iranian capability, provided the technology is proven and it is cost effective. We will do so in consultation with you our NATO allies and with Russia.”
Asked whether Russia could take concrete steps to signal its readiness to work with the United States:
“It is not an oriental bazaar and we do not trade the way people do in a bazaar.
“The question is how we are going to react to the hypothetical threat of the spread of missile technologies. ...There a few options that include, among others, a joint threat assessment (by) Russia and the U.S.”
“I don’t think the Russia of today is a military threat to NATO or the European Union.”
“It’s too late to start building a pipeline when the gas stops flowing and too late to start building a shield when the missile is already in the air.”
“NATO must also change. It needs to become less reactive and more proactive. It needs to become less rigid and more flexible. It needs to become less stationary and more expeditionary.”
“France should improve its links with NATO, by being an independent ally, a free partner of the United States.
NATO’S SECRETARY-GENERAL JAAP DE HOOP SCHEFFER
“We ... need to move beyond a 19th century ‘Great Game’ idea of sphere of influence.”
“In my view, it’s gonna be much tougher than Iraq.”
“There is no magic formula in Afghanistan ... it is going to be a long, difficult struggle
“What we have inherited, essentially is a situation of very grand rhetoric with inadequate, insufficient resources.”
“The forthcoming elections in Afghanistan... will be valuable opportunities to give a new impetus to the reconciliation agenda.”
“There has been nothing easy about Afghanistan.”
“This will be a long and difficult fight I agree.”