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

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers 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.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid