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U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Transcript

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and German Minister of Defense Franz Josef Jung February 09, 2007

Press Availability with Secretary Gates and Minister of Defense Jung

(Note: Minister Jung's remarks are through interpreter.)

SEC. GATES: (In progress) -- importance of economic development as part of the future success of the Afghan government. And I think we're also in agreement on the importance of working hard at the counternarcotics programs in Afghanistan as well, and we had a very good conversation.

MIN. JUNG: I can only fully agree to what my counterpart said. We had an excellent discussion. We underlined once again the very good and friendly relationship between the United States of America and Germany. And we both think that -- we hope that the proposal submitted by Mr. Ahtisaari will meet broad consensus from in Kosovo in order to reach a peaceful and stable situation in that area.

On Afghanistan, we also said that we now need to provide security and that we need to promote the reconstruction efforts. We must win the hearts and minds of the Afghan population in order to be successful in that conflict.

And we also -- I also underlined once again that the federal German Cabinet took a decision this week to fill the capability gap that we have in Afghanistan by sending out six Tornado reconnaissance aircraft. Of course, this is still subject to approval by the German parliament, but we are now advocating the solution.

Q Minister Jung, yesterday you said there was too much talk about military means. You said the Russians had 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, they lost. It's not an invasion, it's -- I'm sorry -- you're liberators, you're not occupiers. What did you mean by that? Are you saying that there should not be more troops sent to Afghanistan?

MIN. JUNG: In the framework of this conference, we discussed this in very clear words.

And my counterpart Mr. Gates also confirmed it, that -- we said that the process in Afghanistan cannot be won by military means only. We need both. We need military security, and we need the promoting of the reconstruction efforts.

This is what we call, in German, "network security," or "the comprehensive approach to operations." And this would be the decisive factor for our success in Afghanistan. And this is also the background for my statement that you just quoted.

We also agreed that we need this strategy for Afghanistan because we are not occupiers, as you quite rightly said, but we are liberators. And therefore, we need this strategy as a basis for the peaceful and stable solution in Afghanistan.

Q Which means you're not opposing more troops, is that correct?

MIN. JUNG: Well, as I just said, we have deployed already roundabout 3,000 troops in the framework of our current Afghanistan mandate. We have now the decision to send an additional six reconnaissance aircraft, Tornado, to the region, which means an additional 500 troops, subject to parliamentary approval. So we are providing the necessary prerequisites. So if the announced offensive by the Taliban actually happens, we will be prepared. And I think the additional reconnaissance efforts will help us to provide better protection for our forces for the civilian reconstruction teams, but also for the Afghan population.

Q (Off mike.)

SEC. GATES: Not really. Actually, as I recall, in India a few weeks ago, Deputy Prime Minister Ivanov acknowledged that our plans here in Europe for missile defense do not threaten Russia, nor its strategic deterrent. There's clearly no danger to Russia, and I think we'll work our way through it.

Thank you very much.


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