Full Text September 20, 2011: President Barack Obama Meets with World Leaders at the U.N. General Assembly — President Obama Speeches with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai & Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan




President Obama Meets with World Leaders at the U.N. General Assembly

Source: WH, 9-20-11

President Obama had a full day in New York City visiting the United Nations General Assembly to address a range of issues on the historic progress that has been made over the last year and the opportunities that lie ahead, including human rights abroad and the promotion of democracy.

The President began his day meeting with Transitional National Council (TNC) Chairman, Mustafa Abdel Jalil at the United Nations North Lawn Building.

UNGA: potus greets Chairman Mustafa Abdel jalil

President Barack Obama greets Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil of the Transitional National Council at the United Nations North Lawn Building in New York, N.Y., Sept. 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton September 20, 2011.

Next the President headed to a meeting to demonstrate support for the new Libya. President Obama explained that Libya, “is a lesson in what the international community can achieve when we stand together:”

This is how the international community should work in the 21st century — more nations bearing the responsibility and the costs of meeting global challenges. In fact, this is the very purpose of this United Nations. So every nation represented here today can take pride in the innocent lives we saved and in helping Libyans reclaim their country. It was the right thing to do.

Late morning President Obama met with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan to address the tragic loss of former Afghani President and Chairman of Afghan Peace Council, Burhanuddin Rabban. Watch the video of the President’s remarks below:

Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (33MB) | mp3 (3MB)

After lunch, the President met with President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil before holding a meeting with the Open Government Partnership, a global initiative to promote transparency, fight corruption, energize civic engagement and leverage new technologies to strengthen the foundations of freedom.

To close the day at the U.N. General Assembly, the President held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

UNGA: Potus w/ Turkey Prime Minister

President Barack Obama participates in a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, N.Y., Sept. 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton) September 20, 2011.


Remarks by President Obama and President Karzai of Afghanistan before Bilateral Meeting

President Obama's Bilateral Meeting with President Karzai of Afghanistan
September 20, 2011 6:38 PM

President Obama’s Bilateral Meeting with President Karzai of Afghanistan

Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York, New York

12:06 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: I want to welcome President Karzai and his delegation. We have a lot of important business to do. And I very much appreciate the efforts that he’s been taking in rebuilding Afghanistan and proceeding on the transition path that will ensure that the Afghans are ultimately responsible for their security and their prosperity.

We received some tragic news today that President Rabbani, who had been heading up the reconciliation process, was killed in a suicide attack. He was a man who cared deeply about Afghanistan and had been a valued advisor to President Karzai, and was a enormous contribution to rebuilding the country. So it is a tragic loss. We want to extend our heartfelt condolences to you and to his family, and the people of Afghanistan.

But, Mr. President, I think we both believe that despite this incident, we will not be deterred from creating a path whereby Afghans can live in freedom and safety and security and prosperity, and that it is going to be important to continue the efforts to bring all elements of Afghan society together to end what has been a senseless cycle of violence.

So we very much appreciate your presence here today. I know that you’re going to have to leave after our meeting. But we want to give you an opportunity to speak to the press, as well.

PRESIDENT KARZAI: Thank you very much, Mr. President, for your message of condolence and support to myself and to the Afghan people on the very tragic loss and martyrdom of Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, the chairman of the Afghan Peace Council, the former Afghan President, and Afghan patriot, who, as we see, has sacrificed his life for the sake of Afghanistan and for the peace of our country.

The mission that he had undertaken was vital, Mr. President, for the Afghan people and for the security of our country and for peace in our country. We will miss him very, very much. I don’t think, Mr. President, that we can fill his place easily. He was one of the few people in Afghanistan with the distinction that we cannot easily find in societies. A terrible loss. But as you rightly say, this will not deter us from continuing on the path that we have, and we’ll definitely succeed.

Thank you, Mr. President, for condemning this act of brutality and cowardice against President Rabbani. I will take that message from you to the Afghan people. This is a hard day for us in Afghanistan, but a day of unity and a day of continuity of our efforts.

Thank you.

12:10 P.M. EDT


Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey before Bilateral Meeting

President Obama's Bilateral Meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey
September 20, 2011 10:51 PM

President Obama’s Bilateral Meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey

Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York, New York

4:46 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I want to welcome Prime Minister Erdogan and his delegation to New York City and to the United States.  Turkey is a NATO ally, a great friend and partner on a whole host of issues.  I want to thank him for all the work that we’ve done together — the cooperation in Afghanistan, the work that we most recently did in trying to provide freedom for Libya, and, in addition, the NATO obligations that both of us carry out together, most recently symbolized by the agreement of Turkey to host a missile defense radar.

Prime Minister Erdogan has shown great leadership on a range of issues and promoting democracy.  And we are very grateful to him for the work that we’ve done together.

I do want to stress my deepest condolences for the loss of life through the explosion that took place in Ankara.  And I understand that the investigation is ongoing, but I think that this reminds us that terrorism exists in many parts of the world, and that Turkey and the United States are going to be strong partners in preventing terrorism.  And we look forward to working with you on these issues.

So, Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for your service and thank you for your friendship.

PRIME MINISTER ERDOGAN:  (As translated.)  Thank you very much, Mr. President.  I’m very pleased that we have this occasion to meet during this week as we meet here for the 66th General Assembly of the United Nations.

And as you have described the relationship between Turkey and the United States, we have a model partnership.  And this is a process which is ongoing, in which we have taken some very important steps and we will continue to take some important steps.  One of those issues that is very common to both of us is fighting against terrorism, and fighting against terrorism based on a common platform.  We have, unfortunately, lost three citizens today as a result of the blast in Ankara, but in the later hours there was another attack in Siirt, in a city in the eastern part of Turkey, where four young girls were killed as a result of an attack in a car, and these were civilian citizens.  And so these are events which give us great sadness.  And this is an area which we have to work on.

As for whether or not we can completely eradicate terrorism I’m not very optimistic in thinking that perhaps we can completely eradicate it.  But I think that we have a lot of room to work together to make sure that we minimize terrorism to the lowest possible extent.  And to do that we have to keep working together on many areas of this effort — work together in — use technology so that we can continue to take joint steps in trying to fight against terrorism.  And those are some of the issues that we all will talk about.

I have also recently visited Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, and we have also worked together in those countries, and Afghanistan as well, and also in Iraq.  So these are many of the areas where we will continue to talk to each other, so that Turkey and the United States continue with this model partnership to move into a better future.

And let me take this opportunity also to thank you for your hospitality today.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you very much, everybody.

Q Was there any discussion of the Palestinian —

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  We’re starting the meeting now.

4:54 P.M. EDT

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