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Kerry defends legality of drone strikes

Kerry defends legality of drone strikes

Jun 01, 2013 - 10:03

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday praised Germany as an important ally, acknowledging the role German troops were playing in stabilising Afghanistaninfo-icon.

"Germany has shown important leadership. They’ve stepped up with respect to the number of troops that will stay and be there after 2014. They’ve taken a leadership position on that," he said.

At a joint news conference with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle in Washington, Kerry also referred to the International Contact Group’s meeting May 14in Berlin.

In response to a query about an American drone programme operating out of Germany, Kerry said: "I’m not going to discuss any specific counterterrorism operations. We don’t do that."

But he stoutly defended the US drone policy, saying President Barack Obama had spoken at great length about it last week. "He laid out the policy and the legal rationale for exactly how the United States takes direct action against Al-Qaeda and its associated forces..."

The secretary added detention and prosecution of terrorists remained America's first preference, but lethal action was necessary at times to protect US citizens. He said they were convinced of the legality as well as the soundness of the basis for making that determination.

"Clearly, our actions are effective because dozens of highly-trained Al-Qaeda commanders, trainers, bomb-makers and operatives have been taken off the battlefield. And the fact is that plots have been disrupted before they were able to be carried out..."

Also on Friday, Pakistaninfo-icon's incoming prime minister Nawaz Sharif expressed “serious concern and deep disappointment” over the latest drone strike that killed a top Talibaninfo-icon commander in the Waziristan tribal region.

“The drone attack is not only a violation of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity but also an action that has been declared a violation of international law and UN charter,” he said in a statement.

Sharif has conveyed his point of view to US Chargé d’Affaires Richard Hoagland. The diplomat was reportedly told that the attack was highly regrettable, particularly as President Obama had spoken of initiating a new policy which would ensure greater exercise of care and caution in the use of this technology.

PAN Monitor/mud


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