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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid