News / USA

Obama, Merkel Discuss Libya, Economy, Mideast Peace

President Barack Obama shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, June 7, 2011.
President Barack Obama shakes hands with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, June 7, 2011.

Multimedia

Audio

Welcoming German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the White House, President Barack Obama has hailed the strength of the U.S.-German partnership.

On a sunny, hot morning the South Lawn was filled with military honor guards and a fife and drum corps, as the two leaders stood during a 19-gun salute for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

President Barack Obama called Germany one of America's strongest allies, and Ms. Merkel - who grew up in what was communist East Germany - one of his closest global partners.

"At a time when some have asked whether the rise of new global powers means the decline of others, this visit reaffirms an enduring truth," said Obama.  "Our alliances with nations like Germany are more important than ever.  Indeed, they are indispensable to global security and prosperity."

Obama, the first African-American U.S. president, said he and Merkel, the first woman to be chancellor of Germany, are also symbols of change.

"Madame Chancellor, the arc of our lives speaks to this spirit," added Obama.  "It is obvious that neither of us looks exactly like the leaders who preceded us.  But the fact that we can stand here today as President of the United States and as Chancellor of a united Germany is a testament to the progress, the freedom, that is possible in our world."

Obama said that as two of the largest and most dynamic economies, Germany and the United States can show that prosperity is "best achieved by investing in their greatest resource, their people, and ability to compete and innovate in the 21st century."

Both leaders pointed to cooperation in Afghanistan, where Germany has about 7,000 troops, the third-largest contingent after the U.S. and Britain.

Chancellor Merkel, in translated remarks, reiterated determination to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and spoke about popular uprisings in North Africa.

"Germany and the United States are partners, sharing responsibility for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan," said Merkel.  "We are pulling in the same direction, trying to keep Iran from following its course of developing a nuclear forces capability.  In North Africa, we support the struggle for freedom.  And in the Middle East, we support efforts to fill the peace process with new life."

In a joint news conference, both leaders were asked about bilateral differences on the NATO-led military operation in Libya.

Each predicted that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi must and will step down.  Obama discussed the role he expects Germany to play as events move forward.

"There is going to be a lot of work to do when Gadhafi does step down, in terms of getting the Libyan people back on their feet, economic, political work that is going to have to be done, and my expectation is going to be that there will be full and robust German support, as there has been in the past, on a wide range of issues," said Obama.

Asked whether Germany felt NATO was mistaken in becoming militarily involved in Libya, Chancellor Merkel said Germany's position should be seen in its support for the international "stance" there, and remains committed to the objectives of the mission.

"It is our joint will that this NATO mission is successful," added Merkel.  "This is important for the people in Libya, but it is also important for NATO for the alliance at large and here we have one heart of an ally that beats with the heart of the other allies."

President Obama said U.S. economic growth depends on a "sensible" solution to Europe's financial problems.  He said Greece will require a combination of private investment, structural reforms and greater transparency, with help from Eurozone countries.

"We think it would be disastrous for us to see an uncontrolled spiral and default in Europe because that could trigger a whole range of other events, and I think Angela shares that view," said Obama.

Whether the warm reception for Chancellor Merkel, including the presentation of the Medal of Freedom to her by President Obama, helps smooth some of the tensions in the U.S-German relationship, over global economic and other issues, remains to be seen.

Chancellor Merkel said that despite what she called some differences of opinion, the partnership rests on "a very broad basis."  She invited President Obama to visit Berlin and the president said he looks forward to that, provided he wins another term as president.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid