News / USA

Syria, Surveillance Issues Await Obama at G8, Berlin

Kent Klein
President Barack Obama leaves early Monday for the Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland and a visit to Berlin.  The conflict in Syria and U.S. surveillance policies will be among the main topics of discussion.

While the G8 is normally considered an economic summit, this year’s gathering at a resort in Northern Ireland will address the bloodshed in Syria…and whether eight of the world’s most influential countries can stop it.  

Russian President Vladimir Putin is the only G8 leader who supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.  He is seen as the key to any G8 agreement on Syria, according to Scheherazade Rehman, the director of Europe studies at George Washington University.

“Putin loves this kind of stuff," Rehman said. "He is the center of attention at this particular juncture.  He knows that, without him, no peace deal can be brokered with Assad.”

Presidents Obama and Putin will meet separately at the G8, and Syria will likely be the main topic there, too, says James Goldgeier, Dean of the American University School of International Service.

“[The] best that probably could be hoped for is, again, a push for an international conference, at which the different parties in the Syrian conflict would actually attend," said Goldgeier. "And whether or not they can achieve that, or whether or not events on the ground are preventing that from happening, remains to be seen.”

However, Goldgeier believes the U.S. and Russian presidents can work together on some other issues. “They both have a strong interest in counterterrorism.  I think both sides have an interest in seeing that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.  They have an interest in trying to defuse the situation on the Korean Peninsula,” he added.

The Lough Erne Golf Resort Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 13, 2013.The Lough Erne Golf Resort Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 13, 2013.
x
The Lough Erne Golf Resort Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 13, 2013.
The Lough Erne Golf Resort Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 13, 2013.
While in Northern Ireland, Obama also wants to push forward talks toward a major U.S.-European Union free trade agreement, which could boost jobs and growth by eliminating tariffs and other barriers.

The president is likely to be confronted with the issue of U.S. government surveillance, both at the summit and when he meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin later in the week.

Rehman said the issue might complicate their meeting. “NSA had put that program in place to spy on Middle East intelligence.  It has now since come out that this has been in Europe and particularly Germany as well," he noted. "And the German public are in a bit of an uproar about this.  Rightly so, because they believe that the U.S. is infringing on basic civil rights, not only in the U.S., but it is extending to Western Europe now.”

Obama also will speak at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, near where he addressed an estimated 200,000 people during his 2008 presidential campaign.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid