News / Europe

Obama, Sarkozy Discuss Global Economy, World Hotspots

President Barack Obama (r) meets with France's President Nicolas Sarkozy  at the White House, 10 Jan 2011
President Barack Obama (r) meets with France's President Nicolas Sarkozy at the White House, 10 Jan 2011

President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy have held wide-ranging talks at the White House focusing on the world economy, terrorism, and global hot spots. Both leaders commented on the shootings in the U.S. state of Arizona which killed 6 people and left 14 others wounded, including a U.S. congresswoman.

It was the second White House meeting for the two leaders in less than a year. The topics were familiar - global economic recovery, foreign policy issues such as Iran, Afghanistan, and Sunday's referendum in southern Sudan as well as the situation in Ivory Coast.

But the shootings in Tucson, Arizona, which have shaken the nation and shocked the world, were in the spotlight, as was the revulsion of the French people over the killing of two French citizens in the African nation of Niger.

Saying Americans are still grieving and in shock, President Obama cited what he called extraordinary courage of people who fought to subdue the suspected gunman.

The president said he is in close consultation with families of those killed and wounded, and with Arizona's governor and congressional leaders, and said consideration is being given to some sort of memorial to those killed and wounded. "There is no doubt that we will establish some mechanism, memorial, during the course of the next several days and when we have that we will announced it.  But I think it is going to be important I think for the country as a whole as well as the people of Arizona to feel as if we are speaking directly to our sense of loss, but also speaking to our hopes for the future, and how out of this tragedy we can come together as a stronger nation," he said.

President Sarkozy said the French people have been "deeply moved" by the tragedy in Arizona.   President Obama offered his condolences to the people of France over the killing of two French citizens who were kidnapped in Niger.

France's prime minister said on Monday he was almost certain that al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) was behind the abduction of the two Frenchmen.  President Sarkozy, speaking through an interpreter, said both nations are united on the need to combat terrorism. "The U.S. and France are determined to stand firm as allies on this issue of terrorism.  Both of us believe that any show of weakness would be culpable.  We have no choice but to go after these terrorists, wherever they may be," he said.

The two presidents used a working lunch to discuss issues ranging from global economic recovery to the Middle East, Lebanon, Iran, Afghanistan, as well as the referendum in southern Sudan and the situation in Ivory Coast.

President Obama thanked France for the sacrifices of its forces in Afghanistan.  NATO countries have set a 2014 target for transitioning security responsibilities to Afghan government forces, with U.S. forces scheduled to begin a conditions-based drawdown in July of this year.

On Iran, Mr. Obama said they would discuss the impact of sanctions and what he called the hope to resolve the issue of Iran's nuclear program diplomatically.  The U.S. and France, he said, will be building on their shared resolve to assure that "we are not seeing nuclear weapons in Iran."

President Obama said their talks would also cover the situation in Ivory Coast, where he said democracy is being threatened, and the referendum in southern Sudan and challenges there from recent violence. "So much is at stake in preventing outbreaks of violence that could end up devastating the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, but also where there is a prospect of a peaceful transition that could result in a better life for people in both the North and the South of Sudan," he said.

France has taken over the presidency of the G-8 and G-20 group of industrialized and developing nations and President Sarkozy will host summits later this year.  

President Sarkozy was expected to underscore his concerns about volatility in global food prices, and his view that revisions are needed in the global monetary system that could challenge the status of the dollar.

Without mentioning that issue directly, Mr. Sarkozy said through an interpreter he appreciates the role that the U.S. economy and dollar play, adding that U.S. and French officials will work to develop common positions before the G-8 and G-20 summits later this year. "Our teams are going to be working very hard together to come up with common papers and common positions on the issues which are of interest and which are in the remit of the G-20, such as the matter of currencies, of commodity prices and all that needs to be done in order to reduce the current and present imbalances," he said.

President Obama said while countries are in the process of recovering from recession, in his words, "we are not yet where we want to be."   

Mr. Obama said imbalances continuing to inhibit prospects for global growth, adding that France and the U.S. are discussing how to coordinate the G-8/G-20 agenda to make it as productive as possible in delivering reforms that will result in more prosperity.

There were further indications that the Obama-Sarkozy relationship is on solid ground.  President Sarkozy described President Obama as a leader with the ability to get to the fundamentals of issues.  Addressing Mr. Sarkozy by his first name, Mr. Obama said he had always found him to be an outstanding partner and friend to the American people, as well as a leader on the world stage.

Separately, President Sarkozy's wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, dined with First Lady Michelle Obama.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
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.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs