WASHINGTON, Nov 28 (KUNA) -- With regard to security cooperation, President Barack Obama and two top European Union (EU) officials on Monday agreed to continue pressuring the Iranian regime over the issue of nuclear weapons development.
Appearing at the White House with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Obama said the three agreed to "continue to place pressure on the Iranian regime to stand down when it comes to the development of nuclear weapons, emphasizing that we continue to hope for a diplomatic resolution that allows them to use peaceful nuclear energy in a way that is consistent with their international obligations." Obama said the United States and Europe have a shared stake in continued progress in Afghanistan, where the EU serves as a leading donor.
"The Bonn Conference (on Afghanistan) next week will be an opportunity to make sure our security and development agenda is sustainable," the President said.
With respect to aviation security, the EU has been "extraordinarily cooperative," Obama said. "And in particular, thanks to the leadership of President Barroso and President Van Rompuy, we have been able to make progress in exchanging intelligence information that can keep our passengers safe and assure that we are preventing any kind of terrorist activity from taking place.
" As global partners in support of universal values, the three "spent a lot of time discussing how we can be supportive of the best elements of what is taking place in North Africa and the Middle East, continuing to encourage democracy, continuing to encourage transparency, continuing to encourage economic development, because we both agree that the aspirations that were expressed in Egypt and Tunisia and in Libya are not simply political issues, but they are also economic issues, and that we have to do everything we can to support increased opportunity for young people," Obama said.
These are very young populations, and if they see a future for themselves where they can work hard and use their skills and talents, develop themselves and support their families, "then the likelihood of a successful political transition will exist as well," he said.
Van Rompuy said Europe works with the United States in supporting the economic and political transition process in the Arab world in the wake of the Arab Spring.
"In Libya, European action was given full support by NATO and by the United States," he said. "We both welcomed the democratic elections in Tunisia and in Morocco. In Egypt we call for a peaceful, democratic and successful transition to civilian rule." The "unacceptable situation" in Syria has prompted the EU to call on the international community to join its efforts in imposing additional sanctions, he said.
"On Iran, we need to step up pressure," Van Rompuy said."The union is preparing new restrictive measures. And on Afghanistan, we reaffirmed that the union is engaged in the long term even after 2014." Barroso said that the sweeping transformations taking place in the Middle East and North Africa confirm that the values shared by Europe and the United States are "indeed universal." "When given a choice, people everywhere choose freedom over oppression, democracy over tyranny," he said. (end) rm.bs KUNA 290013 Nov 11NNNN