News / Middle East

Obama Voices Support for Syrian Opposition, Discusses Iran

President Barack Obama at White House news conference Nov. 14, 2012President Barack Obama at White House news conference Nov. 14, 2012
x
President Barack Obama at White House news conference Nov. 14, 2012
President Barack Obama at White House news conference Nov. 14, 2012
In his first news conference since winning reelection, President Barack Obama said he still hopes for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. Obama also discussed the situation in Syria

Most of the questions to Obama dealt with the U.S. economy, but he was asked about Syria and Iran.

On Syria, the president was asked about the continuing brutal crackdown by the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and whether the United States formally recognizes the newly-formed coalition of Syrian opposition groups.

Obama said he is encouraged by the development, adding U.S. envoys will be talking with the coalition.  But he stopped short of voicing any formal recognition, as France as done.

He underscored U.S. concern that the Syrian umbrella opposition group show it is committed to certain basic principles.

"We are not yet prepared to recognize them as some sort of government in exile, but we do think that it is a broad-based representative group.  One of the questions that we are going to continue to press is making sure that that opposition is committed to a democratic Syria, an inclusive Syria, a moderate Syria," Obama said.

Obama mentioned U.S. concern that Syria's opposition not be "splintered and divided" in the face of what he called the "onslaught" by the Assad regime.

He said the U.S. remains in very close contact with Turkey and Jordan, and Israel, which he said has concerns about possible movements of Syrian chemical weapons.

The president had this response when asked if there was any point at which the U.S. would consider arming the opposition.

"We have seen extremist elements insinuate themselves into the opposition.  And one of things we have to be on guard about, particularly when we start talking about arming opposition figures, is that we're not indirectly putting arms in the hands of folks who would do Americans harm, or do Israelis harm, or otherwise engage in actions that are detrimental to our national security," Obama said.

Obama was also asked if he plans a new diplomatic push for a negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.

Saying he "very much" wants to see such a solution, he said a "window of time" remains to resolve the issue diplomatically.

Yes, I will try to make a push in the coming months to see if we can open up a dialogue between Iran and not just us but the international community to see if we can get this thing resolved.  I can't promise that Iran will walk through the door that they need to walk through, but that would be very much the preferable option," Obama said.

Asked under what circumstances direct U.S. - Iranian discussions might take place, Obama declined to talk about what he called the "details of negotiations."

But he said it was "fair to say" the U.S. wants to get the issue resolved and would not be constrained by diplomatic niceties or protocols."  Iran has said its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

3-day Lockdown to Fight Ebola Continues In Sierra Leone

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Esther Haman from: DC
November 14, 2012 7:45 PM
For the Zionists among us, please read it and weep. The following is only a few lines of this accord:

ALGIERS ACCORDS
January 19, 1981

Point I: Non-Intervention in Iranian Affairs
1. The United States pledges that it is and from now on will be the policy of the United
States not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran's internal affairs.

The Zionist may want to think and act differently, but we stand by our words. We will not be fooled again by the Zionist to start a new war with the Muslims so they get the chance to occupy more Palestinian and Arab territories.

Get it?!

In Response

by: Plain Mirror from: Plain Planet Africa
November 15, 2012 4:06 AM
Obama, being cautious now on the Syria opposition issue is late! You took the lead in supporting and arming rebellion in Syria. Now, you come to realise that extremists are involved. How visionary you are! Too late!! Obama too late!! The answer to the Syria problem is the hands of the Almighty God. If left for the world leaders, they have failed the world by supporting unduely evil in the name of seeking one world order.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
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.


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