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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go 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.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

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