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US to focus on Asia-Pacific for greater security: Obama


The US will continue to focus on the Asia-Pacific region and shape a future of greater security, President Barack Obama said today

ObamaWashington: The US will continue to focus on the Asia-Pacific region and shape a future of greater security, President Barack Obama said today, even as he vowed to veto any Congressional bill imposing new sanctions on Iran to give “diplomacy a chance to succeed”.

In his sixth annual address to the Congress, Obama touched upon various areas of the world, emphasizing on key aspects of his foreign policy. There was no mention of India in his speech, wherein he cited China once in an economic context.

“We will continue to focus on the Asia-Pacific, where we support our allies, shape a future of greater security and prosperity and extend a hand to those devastated by disaster – as we did in the Philippines” Obama said in his annual State of the Union Address to the Congress.

Observing that in a world of complex threats, US’ security and leadership depends on all elements of its power, Obama said American diplomacy has rallied more than fifty countries to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands and allowed to reduce reliance on Cold War stockpiles.

Attributing the tough sanctions on Iran for bringing Tehran on the negotiations table, Obama threatened to veto any Congressional bill that imposes new sanctions on Iran as negotiations of curtailing the latter’s nuclear weapons program continue.

“The sanctions that we put in place helped make this opportunity possible. But let me be clear: if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it. For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed,” he said.

It is American diplomacy, backed by pressure, that has halted the progress of Iran’s nuclear program and rolled back parts of it for the very first time in a decade, the US President argued.

Iran has begun to eliminate its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium, he said.

The US President argued that if John F Kennedy and Ronald Reagan could negotiate with the Soviet Union, then surely a “strong and confident America can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today”.

“As we speak, American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as they engage in difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there, to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians and lasting peace and security for the State of Israel – a Jewish state that knows America will always be at their side,” Obama said.

“Our alliance with Europe remains the strongest the world has ever known. From Tunisia to Burma, we’re supporting those who are willing to do the hard work of building democracy,” he said.

In his speech Obama pledged support to the people of Ukraine, saying the US will stand for the principle that all people have the right to express themselves freely and peacefully and have a say in their country’s future.

“Across Africa, we’re bringing together businesses and governments to double access to electricity and help end extreme poverty,” Obama said.

“In the Americas, we are building new ties of commerce, but we’re also expanding cultural and educational exchanges among young people,” the US President said.


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