Biden: U.S. backs efforts in Greek crisis

May 9, 2010 at 8:29 AM
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MADRID, May 9 (UPI) -- The United States supports work to stem Greece's debt crisis and prevent its spread to other European Union countries, Vice President Joe Biden said in Spain.

"We agreed on the importance of a resolute European action to strengthen the European economy and to build confidence in the markets," Biden said during a news conference Saturday with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Zapatero, current EU president, said international coordination has helped Europe recover from the 2008 economic crises and is key to the current economic situation.

"I've told Vice President Biden that economic recovery is under way in Europe and in the euro zone," Zapatero said of his discussions, "and that it is key at the present time to overcome the crisis in the markets so as to keep up economic recovery and job creation."

Biden wrapped up a two-country trip made to consult with NATO leaders, the European Union, Belgium and Spain on security and economic issues.

The two also discussed collaborations between Spain and the United States on other economic, security and diplomatic fronts.

"You also know that economic relations between the United States and Spain are very strong. The United States is a very important investor in Spain," Zapatero said.

Biden thanked Spain and other countries for their military presence in Afghanistan. Separately, he conveyed a similar message to Spanish troops and military leaders.

"As valued NATO allies, we're working to disrupt, dismantle and to defeat al-Qaida, to fight the insurgents who would destabilize Afghanistan ... and to develop institutions and Afghan security forces so that the Afghans can take responsibility on their own," Biden said, thanking Spain for its decision to increase troops and trainers in Afghanistan.

Biden said he and Zapatero also discussed the international effort to prevent Iran from developing or acquiring nuclear weapons.

Iran must either abide by international norms or "face further consequences and increasing isolation," Biden said.

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