tv News Al Jazeera February 9, 2015 12:00pm-12:31pm EST
mbers are accurate, and if they are accurate, what incentive is there for him to do anything in regards to ukraine. >> vladimir putin has a dictatorship even though it's a functioning democracy from the outside. the approval rating, whether they're accurate or not he still has control over the levers of power and people throughout the country report to him. there is no fear on his part although many don't see an exit plan for him in the next five-seven years. >> isil came into the picture and that took the focus of the world away from the events unfolding in ukraine, even though they did not stop. do you feel that the microwave attention span of the world is hurting ukraine and the efforts to disease the moment. >> yes, it's been a growing consensus for helping ukraine.
even though it may not have been covered in the news, when it was drafted in committees, it was passed unanimously, there has been a growing consensus. even though you may not have been hearing it in the news, you may not hear them talk about crimea any more, these are discussions happening in the halls of power. we need to keep pushing the leaders of this country especially to do something. these offensive weapons the discussion whether they can be offensive or defensive the weapons really cannot be used in an offensive measure unless you put them in concert with others. the list of supplies for ukraine that they're asking are not primarily weapons. they're counter radars, secure communication, they're field hospitals and medical helicopters, in addition to these anti-tank weapons. now the anti-tank weapons. if they were to get 1,000, we can go war heads but not a
thousand javelins. there is something wrong with that. >> there is a long list of countries lining up for pentagon support, for white house support, from nigeria the crisis with boko haram and isil the free syrian army and peshmerga saying if they had more weapons they could better address the advancement of isil in syria and also in iraq. where does ukraine fit in? >> well, i think ukraine is a special case. as you noted in that budapest memorandum, it was one of the signatories that in a way promised ukraine it would retain it's sovereignty if this turned over these weapons to russia. there is an obligation on the part of the united states to provide that defense. you know, everybody agrees there is not a military solution to what is going on in ukraine but as senator john mccain, the
republican senator on armed services committees argued over at the munich security conference said there is a military dimension to it. how do you blunt the advance of the pro-russian separatists to the point that vladimir putin the russian president, may be willing to negotiate. andre made a good point on the defensive weapons. one of the things that we're talking about as he mentioned the counter battery raiders. these are raiders that can detect in-coming artillery and mortar shells and pinpoint the location that they come from. as he said, if you use them in concert with another weapon to target the place that's targeting you that could be seen as offensive but the raiders are probably one of the weapons that could be seen purely as a defensive weapon. they're only good if you are attacked. there are class of weapons that would fit that criteria. >> you see the president entering the east room, besides
him german chancellor angela merkel. we take you live to the white house. >> as hauls, it's always, it's a great pleasure to welcome my great friend and partner angela merkel back to the white house. angela has been here many times but this visit is a chance for me to congratulate her on two achievements well into her third term. angela is now one of germany's longest serving chancellors perhaps most importantly this is my first opportunity to publicly congratulate angela and germany on their fourth world cup title. our u.s. team gets better each world cup so watch out in 2018. germany is one of our strongest allies so whenever we meet it's an opportunity to coordinate closely on a whole range of
issues critical to our shared security and prosperity. as angela and our german friends prepare to host the g-7 this spring it's also important for us to be able to coordinate on a set of shared goals and in our working lunch this afternoon we'll focus on what we can do to keep the economy growing and creating jobs. as strong supporters of the trans-atlantic trade and investment partnership we agree that there needs to be meaningful progress this year towards an agreement that boosts our economies with strong protections for consumers workers, and the environment. i look forward to hearing angela's assessment of how europe and imf can work with the greek government that returns greece within sustaining growth within the eurozone, where growth is critical to both the united states and the global committee. economy. and we'll work to take ambitious
action on climate change including the financing of coal-fired power plants overseas and shutting down some of the most dangerous greenhouse gasses gasses. our discussion this morning focused on global security issues. we reconfirm our commitment to training afghan security forces and a sovereign and secure an afghanistan. we agree continuing existing sanctions to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear when as p5+1 work closely to achieve a good, verifiable deal. two issues in particular that dominated our workday this morning, russia's aggression against ukraine and the international fight against isil. with regard to russia and the separatists that sports in ukraine, it's clear that they
violateed just about every commitment they made in the memberships agreement instead of withdrawing from the eastern ukraine russian forces continue to operate there. training separatists and helping to coordinate attacks. instead of withdrawing its arms russia has sent in more tanks and armored personnel carriers and heavy artillery. with russian support the separatists have seized mortar tore and shelled civilian areas and driven more ukrainians from their homes. these are the facts. but russian aggression has only reinforced the unity of the united states and germany and our allies and partners around the world. i want to thank angela for a strong leadership and a partnership as we've met this challenge. chancellor merkel and vice president biden met over the weekend, and she shared with me the talks in moscow. we continue to encourage a diplomatic resolution to this issue, and as diplomatic efforts
continue this week we are in absolute agreement that the 21st century cannot stand idle, have us stand idle and simply allow the borders of europe to be we drawn at the barrel of a gun. today we've agreed to move forward with our strategy along with our nato allies. we'll keep bolstering our presence in central and eastern europe part of our unwavering article 5 obligation to our collective defense. we'll continue to work with the imf and other partners to provide ukraine with critical financial support as it pursues economic and anti-corruption reforms. we discussed the issue of how to best assist ukraine as it defends itself, and we agree that sanctions on russia needs to be fully enforced until russia complies fully with its obligations. even as we continue to work for a diplomatic solution, we are making it clear again today that
if russia continues on its current course, which is ruining the russian economy and hurting the russian people as well as having such a terrible effect on ukraine, russia's isolation will only worsen politically and economically. with regard to isil germany and the united states remain united in our determination to destroy this barbaric organization. i thanked angela for her strong support as a member of the international coalition that is working in iraq in a significant milestone in its policy germany has taken--germany is a close partner in combating the threat of terrorist fighters, which was a special session of last fall,
and she's moving forward to prevent fighters from traveling to and from syria and iraq. at the same time both angela and i recognize that young people in both our countries especially in muslim communities are being threatened and targeted for recruitment by terrorists like al-qaeda and isil. and protecting them from this hateful ideology so they're in the vulnerable to such recruitment. the task of communities families members faith leaders who know their communities best, but we could help these communities starting with the tone and the example that we set in our own countries. so i want to commend angela for her leadership. her leadership speaking out forcefully against xenophobia and prejudice and on behalf of pluralism and diversity. she has made it clear that all religious communities have a place in germany, just as they do here in the united states. we're thankful that our german
friends will be joining us at the summit on countering violent extremism because this is a challenge that our countries have to meet together. let me end on a historying historic note. this marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the world war, and the anniversary of the reunification of germany. sometimes when conflicts around the world sometimes seem irretractibler or beyond grasp germany's story gives us hope. we can end wars. countries can rebuild adversaries can become allies. walls can come down, divisions can be healed. germany's story and the story of angela's life remind us when people stand united our values will ultimately prevail. as we look to the future, as i prepared a visit to bavaria in june i'm grateful for my partnership with angela as
americans are grateful for their partnership with the people of germany. chancellor merkel. >> thank you president barack obama, i'm grateful to be back in washington. we were here for the last time this has a lot to do with first and foremost the fact that we have assumed the president of the presidency this year, and we coordinate on these matters very closely as we do on others, and obviously we will address the issues related to the global economy when we meet in bavaria. from an european vantage point think we can say that we have made significant progress. we have countries who are now a back on the growth path, ireland comes to mind, but spain and portugal under a strong phase of
structural reform where they've may progress, and the new commissioner has launched a growth program in which germany will participate. we will pin our hopes based basically on growth, and infrastructure but also on other growth projects, for example, the digital economy as i think of the state of the digital economy in the united states. there is a lot of things to be done about the europeans now. i would say that free trade agreement, a conclusion of the free trade agreement will go a long way to effecting growth. germany will? outcome out very forcefully in seeing the negotiations between the e.u. and the united states and free trade. it's in our own vested interest, the interest of the united states and the german interest.
we're dealing with g-7 agenda with health issues. what sort of lessons have we drawn from the terrible ebola epidemic. one is that the international organizations and international community has to be quicker in reacting to such situations, and we're also interested, for example, in seeing we're happy to see the conclusion of the conference in germany. we dealt with security issues. it is true that germany celebrates the anniversary of reunification. this could not have been possibly or achieveable without transatlantic partners and we'll always be grateful for this. it is one case in point that it is well worth the effort to stand by one's values for decades to pursue long-term
goals and not relent in those efforts. after we thought in the '90s maybe that things would turn out more easily, less complicateed now we see ourselves facing a whole wealth of conflicts. we talked about afghanistan. germany has decided in its fight against i.s. to give help to deliver training missions, to deliver also weapons and if necessary we work together on the iran nuclear program where we also enter into a crucial phase of the negotiations. one political priority was given to the conflict between ukraine and russia this morning. we stand up for the same principles of territory integrity, and for somebody who comes from europe i can only say if we give up this principle of territory integrity of
countries, then we will not be able to maintain the peaceful order of europe that we've been able to achieve. this is not any point but a crucial point. we have to stand by it, and russia has violated the territory integrity of ukraine in two respects: in crimea and also in donetsk and luhansk. we're called upon now to come up with solutions not in the sense of mediator, but we also stand up for the interests of the european peaceful order. this is what the french president and i have been trying to do over the past few days. we're going to continue those efforts and i'm very grateful that throughout the ukraine crisis we have been in very very close contact with the united states of america and europe and this will be continued.
that is, indeed, one of the most important messages we need to send to russia. we continue to pursue a diplomatic solution, although we have suffered a lot of set backs. these days we'll see whether all sides are ready and willing to come to a negotiated settlement. i've always said i don't see a military resolution to this conflict but we have to bring all our efforts in bringing about a diplomatic solution. there is a whole host of issues. over lunch we'll continue to talk about climate protection, and sustainable development goals. yet again, thank you very much for the very close cooperation very close coordination, and the possibility to have an exchange of views on these crucial issues. i think not only in hindsight can we safely say that the united states has stood by us and helped us to regain our unity and peace our freedom but we can also say that we continue
to cooperate closely if it's about solving the conflicts of the world today. there are many of them, and we'll continue to do so in the future. thank you for your hospitality. >> first question, steve. "washington post." >> thank you. you stressed that u.s. and europe need to have cohesion on the sanctions on dealing with ukraine. yet the administration is discussing sending lethal weapons to ukraine, which is different from what the chancellor has said over the weekend. i'm wondering if this is a good cop-bad cop act or is this a real reflection of difference of views on the situation on the grouped. more broadly if there is no agreement this week, what lies ahead? are relooking at a broader set of sanctions? what makes us think that those set of sanction also change the russian president's mind more than the current ones?
>> well, let me start with the broader point. i think both angela and i have emphasizeed that the prospect for a military solution to this problem has always been low. russia obviously has has extraordinaryily powerful military and given the length of the russian border with ukraine, given the history between russia and ukraine expecting that if russia is determined that ukraine can fully rebuff a russian army has always been unlikely. but what we have said is that the international community working together can ratchet up
the costs for the violation of the core principle of sovereignty and territorial integrity. that's exactly what we've done. russia has paid a significant cost for its actions first in crimea and now in eastern ukraine. it has not yet dissuaded mr. putin from following the course that he is on. but it has created a measurable negative impact on the russian economy, and that will continue. my hope is that through these diplomatic efforts those costs have become high enough that mr. putin's prefer option is for a diplomatic resolution. i won't prejudge whether or not they will be successful. if they are successful, it will be in part because of the
extraordinary patience and effort of chancellor merkel and her team. if they are not then we will continue to raise those costs. and we will not relent in that. one of the things that i'm very encouraged about is the degree to which we've been able to maintain u.s.-european unity on this issue. now, it is true that if, in fact diplomacy fails what i've asked my team to do is look at all options. what other means can we put in place to change mr. putin's calculous. and the possibility of lethal weapons is an option being examined. i have not made a decision on that yet. i've consulted, not just with angela but i'll be consulting
with other allies on this issue. it is not based on the idea that ukraine could defeat a russian army that was determined. it is rather to see whether or not there are additional things we can do to help ukraine bolster its defenses in the face of separatist aggression. but i want to emphasize that a decision has not yet been made. one of the bigger issues that we're also concerned with, making sure that the ukrainian economy is functioning and that president poroshenko and the prime minister can continue with the reform efforts that they've made. i'm glad to see that because of our cooperation and our efforts we're starting to see a package come together with the imf with the european union and others that can help bolster the european economy so they have the space to continue to execute some of the reforms in
anti-corruption measures they've made. one of the most important things we can do for ukraine is help them succeed economically. that's how people on the ground feel this change this, transformation inside of ukraine. if that expert experiment fails then the larger project of an independent ukraine will fail. we'll do everything we can to help bolster that. but there is no doubt that if, in fact, diplomacy fails this week there is going to continue to be a strong unified response between the united states and europe. that's not going to change. there may be some areas where there are tactical disagreements. there may not be, but the broad principle that we have to stand up for not just ukraine but the principle of territorial integrity and sovereignty is one where we're completely unified.
>> the french president and i have decided to make one further attempt to make progress to a diplomatic means. we have the minsk agreement the minsk agreement that has never been implemented. cite the contrary is true. the situation has worsened on the ground, so now there is a possibility to try to bring about a cease-fire, and to also create continues that are in place where you have not every day silver civilians dying and i'm absolutely confident that we'll do this together. i, myself, would not be able to live with not having made this attempt. so there is anything but an assureed success in all of this, i have to be very clear in all
of this, but if at a certain point in time one has to say that a success is not possible, even if one puts every effort into it then the united states and europe have to sit together and try and explore further possibilities of what one can do. let me point out here that foreign ministers of the european union last week already tasked the commission to think about further possible sanctions. on the issue of what is effective and what is not i'm somewhat surprised sometimes let me just mention iran. for a fairly long period of time we've had sanctions in place there. people don't seem to question them and i think they have been fairly successful if we look at the current state of affairs on the nuclear program. i think it was a very good thing to put some costs onto the
russians through these sanctions we agreed upon because we see that russia seems to be influenced by this. and this is why i'm 100% hyped these decisions. as to the export of arms, i have given you my opinion but you may rest assured that no matter what we decide the alliance between the united states and europe will continue to stand will continue to be solid, even though on certain issues we may not always agree. but this partnership be it on ukraine and russia, be it on combating terrorism on the international stage be it on other issues is a partnership that has stood the test of time, and that is--i mean, in europe, we're very close. but this transatlantic partnership for germany is
indispensable. i can say this for myself and on behalf of my colleagues in the european union. >> you have not yet made a decision as to whether weapons ought to be delivered to ukraine. what would be your red line. what would be the red line that needs to be crossed for to you decide and what do you think this will hold by way of a promise. it could make matters worse and what can president obama do to defuse this conflict, and president putin demanded again that the government in kiev negotiate directly with the operatists. when do you think the right moment has come to do this and with looking at all the big issues it has discussed this breach of confidence due to the nsa affair, of the
u.s.-german relations has that played a role today? >> do you want to go first? >> i can gladly start. the question as to how one assesses the effectiveness of certain measures has been dealt with. the president has not made a decision as he said. what is important for me is that we stand very closely together on the question of a new renewed diplomatic effort. we keep each other informed. we're in close touch and nobody wishes more for a success than the two of us who stand here side by side. but this would also mean not only having a cease-fire in place, but also, over and above that having certain rules in place. you say that the russian
president there should be direct contracts. >> they already exist with contact groups with representatives from donetsk and luhansk. the problem of the last few days, and the problem of the last meetings was more of there was not really that much of an end result, if they met at all or if representatives from donetsk and luhansk were there at all. sometimes they didn't even arrive. this is the call of the minsk agreement, that there are local elections in accordance with the ukrainian constitution, and that the outcome of that is that you have representatives authorities, who can speak for those regions and the ukrainian president has paved the way for this giving certain specific status to the luhansk and donetsk. these elections are an essential point that enable us to say maybe now there can be contacts.
i can very well understand that on the territory that they consider to be part of their territory, and that anything else would violate the territory integrity, that they want to see there, and that has been stated by president putin that he wishes to see those elections happening there. now on the nsa issue. i think there are still different assessments on individual issues, but if we look at the shear die mention of the terrorist threat we are more than aware of the fact that we need to work together very closely, and i as the german chancellor want to state that the institutions of the united states of america still continue to provide us with a lot of very significant, very important information that also enters into our security. we
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