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

Multimedia Ferguson, Missouri Streets Calm After Days of Violence

Police official says authorities responded to fewer incidents, noting there were no shootings, Molotov cocktails or fires More

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

For Chanthy Sok, rap infused with Cambodian melodies is a way to pay respect to the survivors of the victims of Khmer Rouge genocide More

Study: Our Life with Neanderthals Was No Brief Affair

Scientists discover thousands of years of overlap between modern humans and their shorter, stockier cousins More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid