Speaking at the 45th Munich Security Conference, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden has rejected the notion of a “sphere of influence” for Russia. In addition, he announced no review of the European missile defence plan, stating that the U.S. will continue to pursue the defence system, provided it is not too costly and can be shown to be effective against the threat from Iran. Furthermore, the IHT reports Biden as saying that the U.S. will not recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent:
“…We will not recognize a sphere of influence. It will remain our view that sovereign states have the right to make their own decisions and choose their own alliances.”
The report notes that
…any chance for a rapprochement between Washington and Russia at this conference all but evaporated, foreign policy experts said, after officials of the Obama administration concluded that Russia had pressed Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet Republic, to close the U.S. military base in that country. The base is crucial to the U.S.-led fight in Afghanistan that Obama has identified as his central national security objective. Obama plans to deploy as many as 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan over the next two years; shaky overland supply routes through Pakistan would make it difficult for the United States to adjust to the loss of the base, in Manas, Kyrgyzstan.