News / USA

Statement by the President on the Release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl

VOA News
President Barack Obama and the parents of U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl spoke to reporters Saturday at the White House after the soldier's release as a captive of Afghanistan's Taliban. Here is the text of their remarks.
 
FILE - Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in an undated image provided by the U.S. Army.FILE - Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in an undated image provided by the U.S. Army.
x
FILE - Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in an undated image provided by the U.S. Army.
FILE - Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in an undated image provided by the U.S. Army.
President Obama: "Good afternoon, everybody. This morning, I called Bob and Jani Bergdahl and told them that after nearly five years in captivity, their son, Bowe, is coming home. Sgt. Bergdahl has missed birthdays and holidays and the simple moments with family and friends, which all of us take for granted. But while Bowe was gone he was never forgotten. His parents thought about him and prayed for him every single day, as did his sister, Sky, who prayed for his safe return. He wasn't forgotten by his community in Idaho or the military which rallied to support the Bergdahls through thick and thin. And he wasn't forgotten by his country, because the United States of America does not, ever, leave our men and women in uniform behind.

"As commander-in-chief, I am proud of the service members who recovered Sgt. Bergdahl and brought him safely out of harm's way. As usual, they performed with extraordinary courage and professionalism, and they have made their nation proud. Right now our top priority is making sure that Bowe gets the care and support that he needs and that he can be reunited with his family as soon as possible.

"I am also grateful for the tireless work of our diplomats, and for the cooperation of the government of Qatar in helping to secure Bowe's release. We've worked for several years to achieve this goal, and earlier this week I was able to personally thank the emir of Qatar for his leadership in helping us get it done.

"As part of this effort, the United States is transferring five detainees from the prison in Guantanamo Bay to Qatar. The Qatari government has given us assurances that it will put in place measures to protect our national security.

"I also want to express gratitude to the Afghan government, which has always supported our efforts to secure Bowe's release. Going forward, the United States will continue to support an Afghan-led process of reconciliation, which could help secure a hard-earned peace within a sovereign and unified Afghanistan.

"As I said earlier this week, we're committed to winding down the war in Afghanistan, and we are committed to closing Gitmo, but we also made an ironclad commitment to bring our prisoners of war home. That's who we are as Americans. It's a profound obligation within our military, and today, at least in this instance, it's a promise we've been able to keep. I am mindful though, there are many troops who remain missing in the past, that's why we're never going to forget; we're never going to give up our search, for service members who remain unaccounted for. We also remain deeply committed to secure the release of American citizens who are unjustly detained abroad and deserve to be reunited with their families just like the Bergdahls soon will be.

"Bob and Jani, today families across America share in the joy that I know you feel. As a parent, I can't imagine the hardship you guys have gone through.As president, I know that I speak for all Americans when I say we cannot wait for the moment when you are reunited and your son Bowe is back in your arms.

"So with that, I'd like Bob to have an opportunity to say something, and Jani as well."

Jani Bergdahl: "I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported Bowe — he's had a wonderful team everywhere. We will continue to stay strong for Bowe while he recovers. Thank you."

Bob Bergdahl: "I'd like to say to Bowe right now who's having trouble speaking English — Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim, zeiyab-a-em — I'm your father, Bowe. To the people of Afghanistan the same, Khalifah al-Thani. The complicated nature of this recovery was, will never really be comprehended. To  each and every single one who effected this, in this country, in the service branches, at the State Department, throughout the whole of the American government, and around the world, international governments around the world, thank you so much. We just can't communicate, the words, this morning when we heard from the president. So, we look forward to continuing  the recovery of our son, which is going to be a considerable task for our family, and we hope that the media will understand that that will keep us very preoccupied in the coming days and weeks as he gets back home to the United States. Thank you all for being here very much."

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs