Biden in France to discuss Mali, Syria

US Vice President Joe Biden, right, and Sheikh Moaz al-Khatib, Syria's top opposition leader, shake hands at the Security Conference in Munich, southern Germany. Photo / AP
US Vice President Joe Biden, right, and Sheikh Moaz al-Khatib, Syria's top opposition leader, shake hands at the Security Conference in Munich, southern Germany. Photo / AP

US Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Paris today for talks with President Francois Hollande on issues that will include France's military intervention in Mali, the Syria conflict, and Iran's alleged bid to build a nuclear bomb.

Biden, who made no comment to reporters as he arrived, was to have lunch with Hollande tomorrow before leaving for talks in London with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Biden arrived in Paris from the Munich Security Conference in Germany, where he warned Iran that opportunities for diplomacy to resolve the issue of its nuclear programme were limited.

Biden on Saturday said the US applauded France's intervention against Islamists in Mali.

He said that dealing with extremists in North Africa and parts of the Middle East now required "a more integrated strategy" and using the "full range of the tools at our disposal".

"That's why the United States applauds and stands with France and other partners in Mali, and why we are providing intelligence support, transportation for the French and African troops and refuelling capability for French aircraft," he said.

"The fight against AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) may be far from America's borders, but it is fundamentally in America's interest," he added.

The Munich Security Conference is an annual three-day gathering of hundreds of high-ranking officials, ministers and top military brass in southern Germany.

- AP

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