Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Obama: Now is time for US and West to lead

BBC News reports on the content of US President Barack Obama's speech today to UK parliamentarians in Westminster Hall, revealing that the President appears to have been reading our exam syllabus (!):
In his speech, Mr Obama... :
  • Acknowledged differences in the US and UK approach to deficit reduction but said their end goal was the same
  • Insisted the allies were preparing to "turn a corner" in Afghanistan - allowing Afghans to take the lead against the Taliban and stopping the country from becoming a haven for terrorists
  • Warned North Korea and Iran against flouting their obligations on nuclear weapons
  • Vowed to worked for a resolution to long-running conflicts like that in Sudan, and in supporting a "secure Israel and a sovereign Palestine"
  • Defended action in Libya - saying the intervention had "stopped a massacre"
The report also outlines the setting and summary of the President's historic speech:
President Obama has told British politicians that, despite the rise of new global powers, the time for US and European leadership "is now".

He said the influence of the US, UK and allies would remain "indispensable," in a speech in Parliament on the second day of his UK state visit.

But he said that leadership would need to "change with the times" to reflect economic and security challenges.

He is the first US president to address MPs and peers in Westminster Hall.

Rows of the UK's most senior politicians and other prominent figures lined the historic building to hear the US president talk about the history of the UK's relationship with the United States and its shared values - and outline some of the future challenges facing the world.

Former British prime ministers Sir John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown sat next to each other in the packed hall - the oldest part of the Houses of Parliament - which fell silent as the US president began his 35-minute speech.

As he began, Mr Obama joked that with an "especially active press corps", the relationship between the UK and US was forever being "over analysed".

But he added: "There are few nations that stand firmer, speak louder and fight harder to defend democratic values around the world than the United States and the United Kingdom."
 The Guardian, like most other newspapers, also covered the speech—and included a convenient video summary:

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