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

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
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 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.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


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