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

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    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.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.