News / Africa

Obama Meets African Leaders at White House

President Barack Obama meets with, from left, Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou, Benin President Boni Yayi, Guinea President Alpha Conde, and Cote d'Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, July 29, 20
President Barack Obama meets with, from left, Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou, Benin President Boni Yayi, Guinea President Alpha Conde, and Cote d'Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, July 29, 20

Multimedia

Audio

As he continues to deal with the U.S. debt crisis, President Barack Obama met on Friday with four visiting African heads of state. Obama said the leaders represent expanding democracy in Africa, and the discussions also covered issues such as counter-terrorism and famine in East Africa.

Obama's meeting with the presidents of Benin, Guinea, Niger, and Ivory Coast took place in the White House Cabinet Room rather than the Oval Office.

The president sat in the middle of the long table in the room flanked by Presidents Boni Yayi of Benin, Alpha Conde of Guinea, Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, and Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast.

The talks were closed to media coverage, but in a fairly lengthy statement translated into French, Obama noted that all four men came to power through free and fair elections.

Calling democratic progress vital to a stable, prosperous and just Africa and critical to global stability, the president said each had shown persistence in the face of enormous challenges.

"Because of their fortitude and because of the determination of their people to live in democratic, free societies they have been able to arrive at a position of power that is supported by the legitimate will of their peoples and as such they can serve as effective models for the continent," Obama said.

Among those challenges, Obama mentioned Ivory Coast where Ouattara took power earlier this year following political upheaval and protracted fighting that left as many as 3,000 people dead.

In recognizing Ouattara as the new legitimate leader in Ivory Coast last April, replacing Laurent Gbagbo, Obama also called for steps toward reconciliation and said those responsible for atrocities should be held accountable.

The president repeated a theme he sounded during his only visit so far to Africa in 2009, and in interactions with African leaders, that "this is a moment of great opportunity and significant progress" for the continent.

He said all agreed that development "cannot keep on duplicating an approach that breeds dependence" but must embrace one that creates sustainability and greater capacity.

The talks also covered security issues. Obama said he expressed appreciation for assistance from African countries in battling terrorism that he said is "trying to get a foothold inside of Africa."

Spreading famine and humanitarian crisis in East Africa also was a topic, including how the U.S. can work with countries to prevent things from getting worse.

"I think it has not gotten as much attention here in the United States as it deserves, but we are starting to see famine developing along the Horn of Africa, in areas like Somalia in particular, and that is going to require an international response, and Africa will have to be a partner in making sure that tens of thousands do not starve to death," said the president.

President Obama noted that Niger's President Issoufou had mentioned Obama's upcoming 50th birthday. Obama used that to underscore another message he has sought to communicate to the people of Africa.

"When we think about the extraordinary progress that has been made, I think there is much that we can be proud of, but of course when we think about the last 50 years, we also have to recognize that there have been a lot of opportunities that have been missed," he said.

The president said he believes the leaders in the room are "absolutely committed" to making sure that 50 years from now they can say they helped to turn the tide in their countries, establish strong democratic practices, and establish economic prosperity and security.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

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