Hi, all. Part 1 features:
- The President's Weekly Address
- The President's message to the people of Cote d’Ivoire
- The President's message on Greek Independence Day
White House, March 26, 2011:
Weekly Address: The Military Mission in Libya
The President says that thanks to our men and women in uniform, the military mission in Libya is succeeding even as responsibility is transferred to our NATO allies and partners.
Office of the Press Secretary, March 26, 2011:
Weekly Address: President Obama Says the Mission in Libya is SucceedingWhite House, March 25, 2011:
WASHINGTON – In his weekly address, President Obama told the American people that the military mission in Libya is succeeding even as responsibility is transferred to our NATO allies and partners. Qaddafi’s air defenses have been taken out, his forces are no longer advancing across the country, and in places like Benghazi, his forces have been pushed back. Every American can be proud of the lives we have saved and of the service of our men and women in uniform who once again have stood up for our interests and our ideals.
Last week, when I ordered our armed forces to help protect the Libyan people from the brutality of Moammar Qaddafi, I pledged to keep the American people fully informed. Since then, I’ve spoken about the limited scope and specific purpose of this mission. Today, I can report that thanks to our brave men and women in uniform, we’ve made important progress.
As Commander in Chief, I face no greater decision than sending our military men and women into harm’s way. And the United States should not—and cannot—intervene every time there’s a crisis somewhere in the world.
But I firmly believe that when innocent people are being brutalized; when someone like Qaddafi threatens a bloodbath that could destabilize an entire region; and when the international community is prepared to come together to save many thousands of lives—then it’s in our national interest to act. And it’s our responsibility. This is one of those times.
Our military mission in Libya is clear and focused. Along with our allies and partners, we’re enforcing the mandate of the United Nations Security Council. We’re protecting the Libyan people from Qaddafi’s forces. And we’ve put in place a no fly zone and other measures to prevent further atrocities.
We’re succeeding in our mission. We’ve taken out Libya’s air defenses. Qaddafi’s forces are no longer advancing across Libya. In places like Benghazi, a city of some 700,000 that Qaddafi threatened to show “no mercy,” his forces have been pushed back. So make no mistake, because we acted quickly, a humanitarian catastrophe has been avoided and the lives of countless civilians—innocent men, women and children—have been saved.
As I pledged at the outset, the role of American forces has been limited. We are not putting any ground forces into Libya. Our military has provided unique capabilities at the beginning, but this is now a broad, international effort. Our allies and partners are enforcing the no fly zone over Libya and the arms embargo at sea. Key Arab partners like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have committed aircraft. And as agreed this week, responsibility for this operation is being transferred from the United States to our NATO allies and partners.
This is how the international community should work—more nations, not just the United States, bearing the responsibility and cost of upholding peace and security.
This military effort is part of our larger strategy to support the Libyan people and hold the Qaddafi regime accountable. Together with the international community, we’re delivering urgent humanitarian assistance. We’re offering support to the Libyan opposition. We’ve frozen tens of billions of dollars of Qaddafi’s assets that can help meet the needs and aspirations of the Libyan people. And every day, the pressure on Qaddafi and his regime is increasing.
Our message is clear and unwavering. Qaddafi’s attacks against civilians must stop. His forces must pull back. Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach those in need. Those responsible for violence must be held accountable. Moammar Qaddafi has lost the confidence of his people and the legitimacy to rule, and the aspirations of the Libyan people must be realized.
In recent days, we’ve heard the voices of Libyans expressing their gratitude for this mission. “You saved our lives,” said one Libyan. Said another, “Today, there is hope.”
Every American can be proud of the lives we’ve saved in Libya and of the service of our men and women in uniform who once again have stood up for our interests and our ideals. And people in Libya and around the world are seeing that the United States of America stands with those who hope for a future where they can determine their own destiny.
President Obama Speaks to the People of Côte d'Ivoire
President Obama sends an important message to the people of Côte d'Ivoire.
White House, March 25, 2011:
President Obama’s Message to the People of Cote D’IvoireWhite House, March 25, 2011:
Posted by Bob Leavitt, Director for African Affairs for the National Security Staff
In the video-taped remarks, President Obama sent an important and very clear message today to President Alassane Ouattara, Laurent Gbagbo, and the people of Cote d’Ivoire: the United States recognizes President Ouattara as the rightful leader of Cote d’Ivoire and calls on Laurent Gbagbo to step aside in the best interests of the country and its people. Cote d’Ivoire should—and can—be one of Africa’s success stories, with a thriving economy, a rich history, and a vibrant democracy.
President Obama has been focused on the situation in Cote d’Ivoire for some time. During his town hall with young African leaders at the White House last August, he spoke with a young Ivoirian participant and said that “Africa’s future also belongs to societies that protect the rights of all its people, especially its women." He declared that “the United States of America will stand with you as you seek justice and progress and human rights and dignity of all people.” That statement is even more important today as the violence against unarmed civilians has increased, raising fears that the country could descend into civil war. President Obama has strongly condemned the continuing acts of violence against unarmed civilians, particularly women, and calls on all leaders to reject violence.
The United States is not alone in standing by the people of Cote d’Ivoire. The international community is united in recognizing President Ouattara as the duly elected leader of Cote d’Ivoire. The African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the UN Security Council have all repeatedly called for Laurent Gbagbo to step aside immediately. As President Obama makes clear in his remarks, the United States will continue to seek a peaceful transition of power in Cote d’Ivoire and will be a partner of those who chose democracy.
President Obama on Greek Independence Day
The President speaks at a reception honoring Greek Independence Day at the White House.
Office of the Press Secretary, March 25, 2011:
Remarks by the President at a Reception Honoring Greek Independence Day
THE PRESIDENT: Well, good evening, everybody.
AUDIENCE: Good evening.
THE PRESIDENT: Kalispera. (Laughter.) Thank you, your Eminence, for the kind introduction. It is always an honor to welcome you here in the White House. We’ve been friends for quite some time now, and his Eminence always displays such grace and good humor and is so generous. We are so very grateful for your leadership.
It is a wonderful pleasure to see so many friends and leaders of the Hellenic American community here as we celebrate the 190th anniversary of Greek independence. (Applause.) I want to acknowledge several people. First of all, we’ve got some members of Congress here: Michael Grimm from New York. Where’s Michael? There he is. (Applause.) Carolyn Maloney, also from New York. (Applause.) John Sarbanes, from Maryland. (Applause.) And then we have another guy -- I don’t know if he’s any relation -- Paul Sarbanes, also of Maryland. (Applause.)
We’ve got Ambassador Demetrios Marantis, Deputy USTR. (Applause.) He’s got a few fans here. We’ve got Nicholas Karacostas -- (applause) -- the President of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association.
I want to especially welcome Deputy Foreign Minister Dollis for traveling all the way here from Athens to join us today. (Applause.) I spoke with your Prime Minister, our good friend Mr. Papandreou today, and I wanted him to extend our congratulations to the entire Greek nation. And we very much appreciate you being here to represent your government.
We are also joined here by Greek Ambassador Kaskarelis. Where is he? There he is. Good to see you, Mr. Ambassador. (Applause.) We have the Cypriot Ambassador -- (laughter) -- Anastasiades -- there you go -- (laughter) -- and his wife Maria. (Applause.)
Tonight we reaffirm the bond our two nations have shared for as long as we’ve existed. Our Founding Fathers were students of Greek philosophy and Greek history, drawing on Greek principles to guide our own nation in its earliest days.
When it was time for Greek revolutionaries to fight for freedom, they looked to the United States for strength and support. And to this day, the United States and Greece shares a bond rooted in common values and common ideals.
As allies, we stand together -– not only for our own security, but for the freedom of peoples around the world. Right now, Greek and American soldiers are serving together in Afghanistan. And as we celebrate the independence of the Greek people, the United States and Greece are standing with our NATO allies to support the Libyan people as they stand up for their own freedom.
So I just want to express the extraordinary thanks that I give to the people of Greece for their friendship, and for their contributions to the life of our nation and so many others. I also obviously want to say to all my great friends in the Greek American community, how much I appreciate your support and your friendship, and I’m glad that we have one more occasion to celebrate together here in the White House. So it’s wonderful to see you again, and I hope you guys have a great time today.
All right? Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. (Applause.)