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US, Britain Vow to Work Towards a New, Democratic Syria

Obama, Cameron Express Determination On Syriai
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May 14, 2013
President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron reaffirmed their determination to achieve a negotiated transition in Syria and a peace conference to broker the departure of President Bashar al-Assad. VOA senior White House correspondent Dan Robinson reports.

Obama, Cameron Express Determination On Syria

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— President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have reaffirmed their determination to achieve a negotiated solution to end Syria's civil war, through a hoped for peace conference. The president also faced questions about the controversy over last year's terrorist attack on U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya.

In their first Oval Office talks since Obama's re-election, the two leaders discussed steps to persuade Syria's rebels, and President Bashar al-Assad's government to join an as yet unscheduled international conference.

Cameron's U.S. visit follows his talks last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and earlier discussions Secretary of State John Kerry had with the Russian leader.

Obama said the United States and Britain will continue to increase pressure on the Assad regime, strengthen Syria's "moderate opposition" and prepare for a Syria without Assad.

"If, in fact, we can broker a peaceful political transition that leads Assad's departure, but a state in Syria that is still intact, that accommodates the interests of all the ethnic groups and all the religious groups inside of Syria, and that ends the bloodshed, stabilizes the situation, that is not just going to be good for us, that will be food for everybody, and we're going to be very persistent in trying to make that happen," said Obama.

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Syria's opposition coalition insists President Assad cannot remain in power as part of a negotiated agreement.  Rebels said they are consulting with key Arab state backers and Turkey, before deciding whether to participate.

Both leaders stressed the importance of Russia's support. Cameron said he believes there is political will and common ground to make the conference happen.

"Both the Russian president, the American president, and myself, I think we can all see that the current trajectory of how things are going is not actually in anybody's interest, so it is worth this major diplomatic effort, which we are all together leading, this major diplomatic effort to bring the parties to the table to achieve a transition at the top in Syria, so that we can make the change that country needs," said Cameron.

Cameron said the European Union has made no decision to supply arms to Syria's rebels. He said members continue to examine if further changes can be made to the E.U. arms embargo to support Syria's opposition.

Obama also faced a question about the controversy over changes his administration made to public talking points about last year's terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya.  

Four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, were killed in the attack.

With opposition Republicans in Congress pressing the White House to release additional information, a defiant Obama called the controversy a political "sideshow."

"We dishonor them when we turn things likes this into a political circus. What happened was tragic. It was carried out by extremists inside of Libya.  We are out there trying to hunt down the folks who carried this out and we are trying to make sure that we fix the system so it does not happen again," said the president.

Obama said in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack it was not clear who was responsible or what their motivations were. He said emails detailing administration revisions to talking points were given to congressional committees several months ago, but were suddenly "spun up as if there was something new to the story."

Monday's talks also covered the agenda for next month's G8 Summit of the world's wealthiest industrialized nations, which Cameron is hosting in Northern Ireland.

The two men also talked about the transition in Afghanistan to a support role for foreign forces, Mideast peace efforts, and P5+1 negotiations with Iran. Obama said the burden remains on Iran to resolve international concerns over its nuclear program.

Also discussed were counter-terrorism efforts in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.

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Comments
     
by: Charlie
May 14, 2013 1:24 AM
Speaking from the comfort and the security of your home, you do need to see the reality of the situation on the ground. Perhaps you
lead a sheltered life. The people in Syria have suffered immensely and many with their lives. President Obama and David Cameron are astute enough to know what has been happening in Syria. Support your President.


by: nubwaxer
May 13, 2013 6:35 PM
here we go again with our clumsy meddling that will not end well. these tribes, clans and sects have no history of democracy nor do they have any desire to establish one.


by: Itani Milleni
May 13, 2013 1:25 PM
Mission Accomplished!


by: Norma Lynn from: SC USA
May 13, 2013 1:19 PM
hey "NotTelling"... i am sorry to tell you that we can NOT disengage these people... 9/11 should have told you that we can't... and they are here!!! they have inundated our "asylum" applications... they are in our schools now... they are soon to be in our Government...
Hey "NotTelling"... wake up... we are witnessing a Global Islamic insurrection... do you really think they will leave US alone?? to them we are the Great Satan...


by: Charles Bennett from: USA
May 13, 2013 1:11 PM
Isn't this exactly the opposite of what Obama's supporters wanted the US to do if he was elected? Nation building, supporting the overthrow of governments, arming rebels, getting our nose into other country's affairs???

How can the Obama-ites sleep at night knowing they voted for someone that is doing the opposite of what they elected him to do?


by: NotTelling
May 13, 2013 12:58 PM
Why do we do this? All monkeying around in that region brings us is trouble. Everything backfires on us and really what goes on there is none of our business anyway. Look at how many trillions we've spent on Iraq and Afghanistan. What good has it really done for us? Now we support groups like Al Qaeda fighting for a "democratic" Syria? Are our governments insane? We just trade bad for worse and blow billions (or trillions) doing it. We suck at nation building, especially in that region full of extremists who hate us.

This news just makes me sick. I don't care about Syria. I don't care about that entire region. I care about the United States of America, my state, my town, my home, my family. Let the idiots on the other side of the world be. Take care of the homefront. Our economy is in the tank. Jobs keep going overseas. Factories are closing. People are hopeless, and our government blows our tax money chasing windmills in the Middle East? This is just sickening.

In Response

by: Itani Milleni
May 13, 2013 1:39 PM
You missed our history. The discovery of New America Atlantis had a mission for us younger generations to carry out; it's the agenda of Francis Beacon hundreds of years ago before we were born.


by: Nick from: New York
May 13, 2013 12:33 PM
Without Assad? I got the memo....He isnt Going Down and neither are his people.

If Hezbollah and Christians are sharing the same foxhole the enemy must come from hell.


by: Samo from: Slowekistan
May 13, 2013 12:26 PM
USA #1
People of Syria soon we will give you the democracy of Saudi Arabia and the stability of Afghanistan. But first we must kill all the bad guys.

In Response

by: annanymouse from: jupitor
May 13, 2013 5:39 PM
Well said Sloweistan

In Response

by: Itani Milleni
May 13, 2013 1:31 PM
The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. or better yet speak softly and carry a big stick, it works all the times.


by: ron from: texas
May 13, 2013 12:17 PM
Some help from those knowledgable in history please.
In the US revolutionary war, did outside countries dictate policy or was it the countries that fought along side us?

In Response

by: Itani Milleni
May 13, 2013 1:29 PM
During US civil war, there was no cellular phone or internet or cyber warfare. Today 2013 we have drones and star wars and shortages of natural resources.

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