News / USA

Obama, Canadian and Mexican Leaders Wrap Up One Day Summit, Discuss Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) shakes hands with Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper (R) as Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto looks on after attending a news conference, at the North American Leaders' Summit in Toluca near Mexico City, Feb. 19, 20
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) shakes hands with Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper (R) as Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto looks on after attending a news conference, at the North American Leaders' Summit in Toluca near Mexico City, Feb. 19, 20
President Barack Obama and the leaders of Mexico and Canada wrapped up a one day North American summit Wednesday on a range of issues, including economic competitiveness, border security and climate change. They also discussed global hotspots, including Ukraine and Venezuela.
 
A joint statement outlined agreements on steps to enhance investment and tourism, reduce regulations, and strengthen bilateral border initiatives.
 
The leaders agreed to expand cooperation on limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and step up efforts against human trafficking and regional crime.
 
President Obama spoke of the competitive advantages that the U.S., Canada and Mexico have, with skilled workers, manufacturing and new energy sources.
 
"All of this positions us to be a power house in the global economy and that is why we are here, to make sure that we are doing everything we can to be more competitive and create more jobs, in Canada, in Mexico and the United States," said Obama.
 
Border security was a key issue in bilateral U.S - Mexico discussions. The leaders said they stand united against criminal gangs and narco-traffickers.
 
President Obama praised efforts by Mexican security forces, and said the U.S. will continue efforts to reduce demand for illegal drugs and combat the southbound flow of illegal guns and cash.
 
Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto spoke through an interpreter and mentioned his country’s efforts to improve security.
 
"We have revised our security agenda and we have agreed to maintain a strategic dialogue to coordinate efforts so we can face a common issue, security in both of our countries and specifically security at the border," said Pena.
 
The leaders also discussed and answered questions about Ukraine, Venezuela, and Syria.
 
Obama referenced the truce between the Ukrainian government and opposition protesters and pledged to support a peaceful solution and the Ukrainian people.
 
"If the truce is implemented it could provide space for the sides to resolve their disagreements peacefully. And going forward we will continue to do whatever we can to support Ukrainians as they seek a peaceful solution and respond to the aspirations of the Ukrainian people for a strong unified democracy that is fully integrated into the international community," said Obama.
 
Ukraine as well as Syria, Obama said, are not a "competition" between the U.S. and Russia but an expression of the hopes and aspirations of people for basic freedoms.
 
He said President Vladimir Putin "has a different view" on many of these issues, but he expressed hope Russia will change its positions.
 
"There are times I hope where Russia will recognize that over the long term they should be on board with those values and interests as well.  Right now there are times when we have strong disagreements, and when I speak to Mr. Putin I am very candid about those disagreements, even as we will continue to pursue cooperation with Russia on areas where we have shared concerns," said Obama.
 
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper echoed Obama’s thoughts on Ukraine.
 
"It is the regime that created this situation, not by taking decisions that were merely unpopular but by undertaking decisions that went against the very nature and aspirations of Ukraine as an independent state," said Harper.
 
Obama criticized the government of Venezuela, where unrest has flared, and its expulsion of three U.S. diplomats.
 
"Rather than trying to distract from its own failings by making up false accusations against diplomats from the United States, the government ought to focus on addressing the legitimate grievances of the Venezuelan people,” said Obama.
 
He said the U.S. and the Organization of American States call on the Venezuelan government to release protesters and engage in real dialogue. He also said that all parties should restrain violence and restore calm.
 
The leaders pledged continuing support for negotiations for a new Asia-Pacific free trade group called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Obama downplayed opposition from what he called "elements" within his own Democratic party.
 
Harper and Obama were also asked about the Keystone XL pipeline between Canadian shale oil fields and U.S. gulf ports, still opposed by environmental groups.
 
Obama said a decision will be made after a comment period for U.S. government agencies following a recent State Department report that found the project would not significantly increase carbon emissions
 
He said he and Harper discussed a shared interest in dealing with greenhouse gas.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs