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WBEN NewsRadio 930>Audio & Video on Demand>>President Obama Issues Foreign Policy Statement

President Obama Issues Foreign Policy Statement

Jul 16, 2014|

President Obama on sanctions against Russia, and other foreign policy matters.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

This is a CBS news special report a statement from the president I'm bill would -- CBS news. President Obama is expected in the White House briefing room shortly to announced stepped up US sanctions on Russia for supporting the pro Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine. This is somewhat in coordination with new sanctions announced by the European Union after a summit meeting in Brussels today. The United States has been concerned in -- nerve in recent weeks about a -- up of Russian forces along the Ukraine border. They now believe there as many as 121000 Russian troops -- in the number had been reduced recently to about 1000. There's also concern that there are supplying some heavy weapons to the separatists were fighting the Ukraine government. I'm joined by correspondent Howard -- Howard what do you know about the sanctions so for. Well but the administration just brief reporters on this new set of financial sanctions against Russians saying. Moscow is still trying to destabilize. Eastern Ukraine. And still illegally occupying Crimea the sanctions will cover two major Russian financial institutions. And two Russian energy companies. The Treasury Department is also targeting eight Russian weapons firms that make small arms mortar shells and tanks. Four Russian officials were also named in the new sanctions. We believe the president will be in the briefing room very shortly now the press corps has conceded. Awaiting his arrival and here's the president of the united. And they're right. -- briefly discuss. Important actions were taken today in support of Ukraine. Before I do or take you most -- of our people it's impressive foreign policy challenges that a review was such a period this afternoon. First of all thanks sector carry. And our outstanding civilian and military leaders and Afghanistan. For the success in helping to break the impasse over the presidential election there. Thanks their efforts and of course. Thanks to the Afghans and courage of the two candidates both of whom I spoke to last week. The candidates have agreed to abide by the results of a comprehensive and internationally supervised. Audit that will review all the ballots. And to form a unity government. If they keep their commitments. Afghanistan will witness the first democratic transfer power in the history of that nation. Progress -- both candidates who have put the interest of the united Afghanistan first. The millions of Afghans who defied threats in order to vote and the service of our troops and civilians who have sacrificed. So much. This progress reminds us that if it is our combat mission in Afghanistan ends this year. America's commitment to its sovereign and united and democratic Afghanistan will -- Along with -- our determination that Americans are never again threatened by terrorists. It's inside of Afghanistan. Second. John updated me on the negotiations -- Iran over its nuclear program. Over the last six months Iran has met its commitments under the interim deal we reached last year. Halting the progress of its nuclear program. Allowing more inspections and rolling back its most dangerous stockpile of nuclear material. Meanwhile we are working with -- Iran's program will in fact be peaceful. And that they want obtain a nuclear weapon. Based on consultations with sector carry in my national security team it's clear to me that we've made real progress in several areas and that we have a credible way forward. But as we approach a deadline of July 20 under the interim deal. They're still. Some significant gaps between the international community and Iran and we have more work to do. So over the next few days will continue consulting with congress and our team will continue discussions with Iran and our partners. As we determine whether additional time is necessary to extend. Our negotiations. -- We continue to support diplomatic efforts to end the violence between Israel and Hamas. As I've said repeatedly. Israel has a right to defend itself from rocket attacks. That terrorized the Israeli people. There's no country on earth the can be expected to live under a daily barrage. Of rockets. And I'm proud that the iron storm system that Americans helped Israel developed and fund has saved many Israeli lives. But over the past two weeks we've all been heartbroken by the violence. Especially the death and injury of so many and innocent civilians. In Gaza. Men women and children were caught in the crossfire. That's why we have been working with our partners in the region to pursue -- -- To protect civilians on both sides. Yesterday Israel did agree to a cease fire unfortunately Hamas continued to fire rockets at civilians. Thereby prolonging the conflict. But the Israeli people and the Palestinian people don't want to live like this. They deserve to live in peace and security free from fear. That's why we're gonna continue to encourage diplomatic efforts to restore the ceasefire and we support. Egypt's continued efforts to bring this about. Over the next 44 -- will continue to stay in close contact with our friends -- parties in the region. And we will use all of our diplomatic resources and relationships. To support efforts. Of closing a deal on cease -- In the meantime wanted to continue to stress the need to protect civilians in Gaza and in Israel and to avoid further escalation. Finally. Given its continued provocations in Ukraine. Today I've approved a new set of sanctions on some Russia's largest companies and financial institutions. Along with our allies with -- -- -- coordinated closely the last several days and weeks. -- repeatedly made it clear that Russia must halt the flow of weapons and fighters across the border into Ukraine. That Russia must first separatists to release their hostages and support a cease fire. That Russia needs to pursue internationally. Mediated talks. And agree to meaningful monitors on the border. I've made this clear direct with mr. -- Many of our European partners have made this clear directly to mr. -- We have emphasized our purpose to resolve this issue diplomatically. But that we have to see concrete actions and not just words. That Russia in fact is committed to try to end. This conflict along the Russia Ukraine border. So far Russia has failed to take any of the steps that I mentioned. In fact Russian support for the separatists and violations of Ukraine's sovereignty has continued. On top of the sanctions we've already opposed were there for designating selected sectors of the Russian economy as eligible for sanctions. We're freezing the assets of several Russia and defense companies. And we are blocking new financing of some of Russia's most important banks and energy companies. These sanctions are significant but they are also targeted designed to have. The maximum impact on Russia while limiting any spillover effects on American companies or those of our allies. We are taking these actions are close consultation where -- European allies were meeting in Brussels to agree on their next steps. And what we are expecting is that the Russian leadership Woolsey once again. That its actions in Ukraine have consequences. Including a weakening Russian economy. And increasing diplomatic isolation. Meanwhile we're gonna continue to stand with the Ukrainian people as -- determine their own future. Even in the midst of this crisis they have made remarkable progress these past few months they held democratic elections were elected to the president. They're pursuing important reforms and they signed into association agreement with the European Union. And the United States will continue to offer our strong support to Ukraine to help stabilize its economy and defend it's territorial integrity. Because like any people Ukraine -- deserve the right to forge their own best. So important -- point out the obvious we that a complex world and at a challenging time. None of these challenges lend themselves to quick or easy solutions but all of them require American leadership. And as commander in chief I'm confident that if we stay patient and determined. That we will in fact. Meet these -- Thanks very much. Further Obama turns and leaves the breathing room without taking any questions from reporters he enumerated a number of different to crisis areas around the world but the focus of this announcement was this the fact that he is expanding sanctions against Russia for its behavior in Ukraine and its support of the Russian separatists were fighting there. I'm joined by correspondent Howard Aaron seeing Howard worked it would just jumped out -- -- Well I think he he said that Israel he was talking about the fighting that's been going on between Israel and Gaza and he repeated again that Israel has the right. To defend itself. From the rockets that are coming up from Gaza. But he did say that we're all heartbroken by the loss of those civilian lives. Many civilian lives in Gaza in just one so far in Israel. He also talked about the results of the elections in Afghanistan. And the talks with Iran over their nuclear program saying. He's gonna determine with secretary of state John Kerry whether more time is necessary to come to an agreement. Or the July 20 deadline that exists now but that very likely will be extended. So we've heard from President Obama announcing or an expansion of US sanctions on Russia the European Union has also increased its sanctions against Russia. And that's where it stands for now has been a special CBS news report the statement from the president with Howard are listening I'm bill Whitney CBS news.

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