News / USA

White House Responds to Putin, Says Military Aid Flowing to Syrian Rebels

President Barack Obama awaits the start of a meeting with members of his cabinet, Sept. 12, 2013, in the Cabinet Room of the White House.
President Barack Obama awaits the start of a meeting with members of his cabinet, Sept. 12, 2013, in the Cabinet Room of the White House.
President Barack Obama is hopeful that U.S.-Russian talks can bring about a diplomatic solution on Syria and its chemical weapons.  The White House meanwhile has responded to a newspaper commentary by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and discussed U.S. military aid to Syrian rebels.  

Beginning a cabinet meeting Thursday, President Obama referred to the talks the United States and Russia are holding in Geneva.

"I am hopeful that the discussions that Secretary Kerry had with Foreign Minister Lavrov as well as some of the other players in this can yield a concrete result.  And I know that he is going to be working very hard over the next several days to see what the possibilities are there," he said.

Obama did not respond to shouted questions on another topic making news - Russian President Vladimir Putin's strong comments about Syria and a potential U.S military strike, published in The New York Times.

Putin said any strike "would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism," and could negatively effect efforts to address Iran's nuclear program and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.  

He also said there is "every reason" to believe opposition fighters were the ones responsible for using chemical weapons in Syria in a bid to draw an outside military response.

The Russian leader also challenged Obama's statement in his Tuesday address that while America cannot be the world's policeman, it's willingness to act when it can with "modest risk"  to stop people being gassed makes America "different" and "exceptional."

Press Secretary Jay Carney called it a "great irony" that Putin would make use of the tool of freedom of expression, which he called a "truly exceptional tradition" in America, and which he said is "on the decrease in Russia."

"The fact is that Russia offers a stark contrast that demonstrates why America is exceptional.  Unlike Russia, the U.S. stands up for democratic values and human rights in our own country and around the world, and we believe our global security is advanced when children cannot be gassed to death by a dictator," Carney said.

Carney said Putin has "invested his credibility" in the diplomatic initiative to put Syrian chemical weapons under international control and ultimately destroying them.

But he added that Russia is "isolated and alone" in blaming Syria's opposition for the August 21 chemical weapons attack in Damascus.

Obama's spokesman also was asked about military aid the administration announced earlier this year would begin flowing to Syrian rebels.

Carney responded to a statement by General Salim Idris, head of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), who has said rebels are still waiting for arms and ammunition.

"We cannot detail every single type of support that we are providing to the opposition or discuss timelines for delivery.  But it is important to note that both the political and the military opposition are, and will be, receiving this assistance," he said.

Syria's opposition has condemned the diplomatic initiative being discussed in Geneva.  General Idris, in a National Public Radio interview, called Putin a "terrorist" and "a liar" for supporting the Assad regime.

On Russia's role in seeking a diplomatic solution, White House Press Secretary Carney was asked if Obama trusts Putin.

Saying "actions speak louder than words", Carney said only that if a diplomatic solution can avert use of military force, "credit will be due to the Russians and to everyone else who participates".

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid