News / USA

Obama, Sarkozy Commit to Strong Sanctions Against Iran

Multimedia

President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have held wide-ranging talks at the White House on subjects including global economic recovery, efforts to impose tough international sanctions on Iran over its nuclear ambitions, and the situation in Afghanistan.

The talks came amid persistent questions about strains in their personal relationship, French cooperation with military and civilian efforts in Afghanistan, and steps the G-20 nations are taking to impose stronger regulation on the global financial system.  

A day before, President Sarkozy delivered blunt remarks in a speech at Columbia University in New York City, taken by many observers as an advance message to President Obama.

No single country can run the world alone the French president said, while appealing for closer U.S. cooperation with Europe on new global economic rules.

But at the White House on Tuesday, the two men sought to dispel media and other speculation about any major rift, with President Obama referring to Sarkozy as his dear friend. "Over the past year, the president and I have worked closely on numerous occasions.  We respect one another and understand one another, and we share a belief that through bold yet pragmatic action, our generation can bend the arc of history toward justice and towards progress," he said.

Each read a statement, and took only a single question from two reporters. President Sarkozy also addressed the wide speculation about divisions between them. "I thought to myself well, when we speak to one another people must be listening to our phone calls because I have seen reports on conversations and discussions which in no way resemble anything that has ever taken place between Barack Obama and myself," he said.

Both men reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen global financial system regulation.  The talks took place as G-20 leaders, including President Obama and President Sarkozy released a statement urging recommitment to reforms.

They also discussed Afghanistan, where France currently has 3,750 troops and military trainers deployed.

Earlier, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters that President Obama would make no specific request for France to increase these numbers.  President Sarkozy called success in Afghanistan crucial to U.S., French and European security: "We have to have the courage to go to the end of our strategy [in Afghanistan] and explain that there is no alternative strategy," he said.

On Iran's nuclear ambitions and its defiance of demands to halt uranium enrichment,  both leaders reiterated their commitment to moving ahead with strong United Nations sanctions.

Acknowledging there is no global unanimity on sanctions, President Obama said the door to dialogue with Iran remains open, but he hopes to move ahead on sanctions not in months but in weeks. "We have engaged.  The door remains open if the Iranians choose to walk through it, but they understand very clearly what the terms of a diplomatic solution would be and in the interim we are going to move forcefully on a U.N. sanctions regime," Mr. Obama said.

Declaring that tougher sanctions are needed, President Sarkozy said France will work to ensure that Europe as a whole engages in the sanctions regime. "The time has come to take decisions.  Iran cannot continue its made race," he said.

On the Middle East, President Sarkozy said the absence of peace there feeds terrorism.  He also condemned Israeli settlement plans in East Jerusalem saying the process achieve nothing.

The French President also visited Capitol Hill, where his policies, particularly on the question of climate change, have often been the focus of criticism by U.S. lawmakers.

The French leader met with House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, and was briefed on steps the U.S. Congress is taking on financial regulatory reforms.

The U.S. and French leaders both have battled low public approval ratings.  President Obama suffered amid his push for health care reform, but has recently enjoyed a slight improvement.

An Ipsos poll conducted before the White House talks showed approval ratings for President Sarkozy, facing a range of domestic issues, falling 7 points to 32 percent in March, the lowest since his election in 2007.

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

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.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid