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

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora