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

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid