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British Foreign Secretary sees more European commitment on Afghanistan

Britain's Foreign Secretary said he saw "greater commitment" from France, Germany and Poland over Afghanistan, adding the world was at crossroads as President Barack Obama takes power in the US.

world Updated: Jan 27, 2009 20:15 IST

Britain's Foreign Secretary said on Tuesday he saw "greater commitment" from France, Germany and Poland over Afghanistan, adding the world was at crossroads as President Barack Obama takes power in the US.

David Miliband stressed most European countries wanted to work closely with Obama, adding that France, Germany and Poland accordingly had "significantly increased" their commitment to operations in Afghanistan.

"I think it's not well known that the German government has significantly increased its commitment to Afghanistan, so has the French government, so are the Polish government," he told guests at London's Chatham House thinktank.

"Given the history, those are big and serious and... brave decisions that are being made by those political leaders."

He added: "They're taking serious risks and they're doing it I think in a way that speaks to the notion that this is a big opportunity for the transatlantic alliance".

The British minister gave no further details of what he meant by increased commitments from Berlin, Paris and Warsaw.

France's Defence Minister Herve Morin said last week that there was "no question" of it sending extra troops to Afghanistan "for the moment".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that Obama taking over does not mean her country will send more troops to Afghanistan.

Polish Defence Minister Bogdan Klich said this month it may expand its contingent of troops serving with NATO-led forces there from 1,600 to 2,200.

Meanwhile Sandy Berger, US national security advisor under president Bill Clinton, warned Obama risked alienating other foreign powers if he presented himself as "the second coming".

"It seems to me that there's a... danger here which is high aspirations offend our friends, a sort of 'who the hell does he think he is?' edge to the way the world listens," he said.

"I think there's a danger here as he presents himself to the world that it not be in such a way that this is the second coming".