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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs