News

    Obama, Cameron Reaffirm Alliance, Discuss Afghanistan, Syria, Iran

    British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama reach to shake hands during their joint news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, March 14, 2012.
    British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama reach to shake hands during their joint news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, March 14, 2012.

    In talks at the White House on Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron reaffirmed plans to shift military operations to a support role in Afghanistan next year, ahead of a planned withdrawal of foreign forces in 2014. The two leaders also discussed Syria, and mounting pressure on Iran over its nuclear program.

    After about two hours of talks, including a 30-minute, private session in the Oval Office, both men faced reporters in the White House Rose Garden.

    In reference to the killing of 16 Afghan civilians allegedly by a U.S. soldier, Mr. Obama said "tragic events" in Afghanistan in recent days are a reminder of the difficulty of the allied mission there.  But, he said, it is undeniable that "very real progress" is being made.

    Watch a related report by VOA's Kent Klein


    The two leaders reaffirmed the plan to transition security to Afghan authorities by 2014.  President Obama said the NATO summit he will host in Chicago in May will determine the next phase of the operation.

    "We are going to complete this mission and we are going to do it responsibly," said President Obama. "And NATO will maintain an enduring commitment, so that Afghanistan never again becomes a haven for al-Qaida to attack our countries."

    Mr. Obama and Mr. Cameron reiterated support for a negotiated Afghan political settlement.  Mr. Cameron said the aim is not to build a "perfect Afghanistan," but to foster a country that is able to stand on its own.

    "We can help ensure that Afghanistan is capable of delivering its own security without the need for large numbers of foreign troops," said  Prime Minister Cameron.

    Mr. Obama said public opinion surveys point to increasing American opposition to military operations in Afghanistan and that people are "weary" of war.  But, the president said he thinks "the vast majority" of Americans and Britons "understand why we went there."

    Both leaders called the situation in Syria complicated.  They endorsed ongoing political and diplomatic efforts to end the turmoil there, including pressing Russia and China to agree to a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the violence, along with efforts to get humanitarian aid to those in need.

    Prime Minister Cameron said, "The fastest way to end the killing, which is what we all want to see, is for [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad to go," he said. "So the way we should try to help bring that about is through diplomatic pressures, sanctions pressure, political pressure, the pressure that [former U.N. Secretary-General] Kofi Annan can bring to bear - that is where our focus is."

    Mr. Obama said China and Russia need to "stand up on behalf of people who are being shelled mercilessly" by President Bashar al-Assad's forces and join the international coalition working for a solution.

    President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron reiterated their determination to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.  Mr. Obama said Iran should seize the opportunity of upcoming talks with the P5+1 group of nations to reach a diplomatic solution.

    "They should understand that because the international community has applied so many sanctions, because we have employed so many of the options that are available to us to persuade Iran to take a different course, that the window to solving [this] diplomatically is shrinking," Obama said.

    Mr. Obama repeated that the United States is determined not simply to contain a nuclear Iran, but to prevent Tehran from obtaining atomic weapons.

    President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron emphasized the strength of the Anglo-American alliance, with Mr. Obama calling it "rock solid."

    .S. President Barack Obama says the United States is making "very real progress" in Afghanistan, despite new tensions following the shooting deaths of 16 Afghan civilians allegedly by a U.S. soldier.

    Obama spoke at a joint White House news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron Wednesday.

    The president said the "tragic events" of recent days in Afghanistan are a reminder that the mission remains difficult, but that U.S. and NATO forces have made key gains.

    "What's undeniable though, and what we can never forget, is that our forces are making very real progress dismantling al-Qaida, breaking the Taliban's momentum and training Afghan forces so that they can take the lead and our troops can come home," Obama said.

    Obama also said the timeframe for withdrawing U.S. troops remains. That plan would see U.S. and NATO turn over full responsibility for security to Afghan forces in 2014.

    Prime Minister Cameron said he also remains optimistic, and that Afghanistan is less of a threat now than before.

    "If you compare where we are today with where we've been two, three years ago, the situation is considerably improved," said Cameron.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: generaux
    March 24, 2012 1:33 PM
    I think the enemy of Syrian are France, British, and USA.
    What did you do in Libya?
    British people is the foundation of Terrorist.
    Nobody else helps Free Syrian army but British does
    it has created foundation there.
    they send suni muslims to fight in Syria
    IF this suni muslim go fight with Isreal they are being charged with Terrorist
    linked. Just this the world of Dog eats Dog.

    by: Godwin
    March 15, 2012 11:33 AM
    Obama is not to be trusted when matters concerning a muslim nation is at stake. Mr. Obama wishes to see an islamic state come to power and stay in it, just as in the West. He employs delay strategy to buy time for Iran, but certainly Cameron must have told him about the urgency required to prevent nuke in Iran as intelligence shows how near to it Tehran is. The world knows that Cameron is in USA to brief Obama about the latest intelligence report on Iran's nuke which Whitehouse must not ignore.

    by: Gab to Lily in China
    March 15, 2012 5:08 AM
    If the majority, as you say, of Afghans do not understand what we are doing there after ten years, then they are doomed to remain in the hell they have created for themselves. We have some very bad neighborhoods here in the US, where the crimes spill over into working class neighborhoods. The people live with bars on their windows and are afraid to come out at night, but they claim it is the police who are violating their civil liberties when the stop and search people in the neighborhood.

    by: lily
    March 14, 2012 11:05 PM
    The vast majority of Afghanis don't understand what you say you are doing there.They only consider you as invaders.

    by: Muhib
    March 14, 2012 4:33 PM
    What BS is this?? ""so that Afghanistan never again becomes a haven for al-Qaida to attack our countries."" It is not Afghanistan that was a safe haven for terrorists, it was always Pakistan. Pakistan is the reason for all this BS going on in south and central Asia. By decimating Pakistan, we can ensure that terrorism in that part of the world will meet it's end.

    by: jd
    March 14, 2012 1:30 PM
    Let's hope they can settle the Iran situation and get oil back down to 2 bucks a gallon

    by: Cha Cha Cohen
    March 14, 2012 1:00 PM
    US economy in shamble by republicans, Obama trying to restore.If
    US acts as Israel wishes with a 'Bunker Blaster' we are sure that China will not help! Our place in the world will be with Greece and Afganistan. Owning morbid amunition does not make one 'SUPER'

    by: Jacques
    March 14, 2012 12:50 PM
    Wow! Just can't believe it all that power and not able to walk away from a fight. I bet the Roosevelt Dems are seriously considering taking Iran back from their 1953 rivals which is probably why we will not seriously and slowly re evaluate the Afghan situation such that our regional economic and political interest will not be @ risk!

    by: christine
    March 14, 2012 11:00 AM
    We are living in a complete fantasy land! "progress" toward what end? There is NO doubt that we have completely failed in Iraq and Afghanistan and should never have declared war on these countries in the first place. There were no WMD in Iraq and the Afghans were not responsible for 9/11. So why in the hell are we there?

    by: Joe Jackson
    March 14, 2012 10:54 AM
    Who can believe these guys. They'r so far removed one would think they're running an ant farm (perhaps they are) It's the money, its always the money.
    Comments page of 2
        Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora