News / USA

Obama, Sarkozy Commit to Strong Sanctions Against Iran

Multimedia

TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid