Clinton voices U.S. confidence on European recovery

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 04, 2012 4:38 AM
Clinton voices U.S. confidence on European recovery

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - The United States voiced confidence on Saturday that Europe can solve its financial crisis and said the two must work more closely to support their recoveries and combat state-run capitalism and protectionism.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to reassure European nations that the United States is not turning away from the continent despite the Obama administration's avowed 'pivot' toward Asia.

On the sidelines of the conference Clinton is scheduled to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov later on Saturday that are expected to focus on seeking Russian support for a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria.

"As a tyrant in Damascus brutalizes his own people, America and Europe stand shoulder to shoulder. We are united, alongside the Arab League, in demanding an end to the bloodshed and a democratic future for Syria.

"And we are hopeful that at 10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time in New York the Security Council will express the will of the international community."

She began her day, however, by stressing the U.S. commitment to Europe.

"I have heard all the talk about where Europe fits into America's global outlook. And I have heard the some of the doubts expressed. But the reality couldn't be clearer: Europe is, and remains, America's partner of first resort," she said.

"We remain confident that Europe has the will and the means not only to cut your debt and build the necessary firewalls but also to create growth, and to restore liquidity and market confidence."

Without naming countries, Clinton appeared to direct some of her comments toward China and the competitive threat to Europe and the United States posed by state-supported companies, protectionism and copyright violations.

"Too often, American and European companies face unfair practices that tilt the playing field against us - favoritism for state-owned enterprises, barriers to trade emerging behind borders, restrictions on investment, rampant theft of intellectual property," she said.

"Together, America and Europe need to instill that all nations respect the rules of the road that guarantee fair competition," Clinton added.

(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; editing by Rosalind Russell and David Stamp)