Pres Obama’s European Travel: NS Summit, EU-US Summit & NATO

2014 Nuclear Security Summit The Netherlands, the organising country, will focus on the following achievable and visible goals:

  1. Optimal security for and, if at all possible, a reduction in the use of highly enriched uranium and plutonium.
  2. Ratification of the amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material by more countries to ensure that the amendment enters into force as soon as possible.
  3. More frequent reviews of state security structures by IAEA advisory missions.
  4. National registration and protection of highly radioactive sources (e.g. medical equipment).
  5. Greater role for industry in nuclear security, to enhance the security culture and existing regulations.States should provide information to their own people and the international community to demonstrate that they are taking appropriate measures to maintain the security of their nuclear material and facilities.
  6. These confidence-building measures will increase trust in the international protection system.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Nuclear_Security_Summit http://youtu.be/IA-iJtNNir0

NSS  2014 2014 Nuclear Security Summit

2014 NSS Family Photo

2014 Nuclear Security Summit
24-25 March 2014
World Forum Convention Center The Hague, Netherlands

Website: https://www.nss2014.com

.2014 EU-US Summit

President Obama’s European Travel Itinerary

March 24, Monday

President Obama arrives in the Hague, Netherlands

President Obama meets with Dutch Prime Minister Rutte
Amsterdam, Netherlands

President Obama tours the Rijksmuseum with Dutch Prime Minister Rutte
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

President Obama and Dutch Prime Minister Rutte hold a bilateral meeting
U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama and Dutch Prime Minister Rutte deliver remarks
U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping hold a bilateral meeting
U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama attends opening Nuclear Security Summit sessions
World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama attends first plenary Nuclear Security Summit sessions
World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama attends Nuclear Security Summit scenario-based policy seasons
World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama attends a G-7 meeting
Dutch Prime Minister Rutte’s residence, Catshuis, The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama meets with Dutch King Willem-Alexander
Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

President Obama participates in a family photo
Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

President Obama and Dutch King Willem-Alexander hold a working dinner
Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

March 25, Tuesday

President Obama meets with Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev
U.S. Ambassador’s residence, The Netherlands

President Obama holds a joint press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Rutte
Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama attends plenary Nuclear Security Summit sessions
World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama attends additional Nuclear Security Summit sessions
World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama speaks at the closing session of the Nuclear Security Summit 
World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan hold a bilateral meeting
United States Ambassador’s residence, The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe hold a trilateral meeting
United States Ambassador’s residence , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama meets with U.S. Embassy members
United States Ambassador’s residence , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama travels to Brussels, Belgium

March 26, Wednesday

President Obama meets with Belgian King King Philippe and Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo
Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama attends a wreath laying
Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama tours battlefield
Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

President delivers remarks
Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama attends the US-EU Summit
Council of the European Union, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama meets with European Commission Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy – US-EU Summit
Council of the European Union, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama attends a US-EU Summit working lunch
Council of the European Union, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama, European Commission Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy hold a press conference – EU-US Summit
Council of the European Union, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama meets with employees and family members of the U.S. Tri-Mission to Belgium
The Hotel, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama meets with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
The Hotel, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama in Address to European Youth
The Palais des Beaux-Arts (BOZAR) aka Paleis voor Schone Kunsten (PSK) The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium

President Obama departs for Rome

March 27, Thursday

President Obama meets with His Holiness Pope Francis
The Holy See Vatican City, Italy

President Obama meets with Cardinal Secretary of State Parolin
The Holy See, Vatican City, Italy

President Obama participates in a restricted bilateral meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy
Quirinal Palace, Rome, Italy

President Obama participates in a extended bilateral meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy

President Obama and Italian President Napolitano hold a working lunch
Quirinal Palace, Rome, Italy

President Obama and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy participates in a bilateral meeting
Villa Madama, Rome, Italy

President Obama and Italian Prime Minister Renzi hold a press conference
Villa Madama, Rome, Italy

President Obama tours the Colossum
Rome, Italy

President Obama meets with members of The Holy See,The Holy See, and the UN Agencies in Rome
U.S. Ambassador’s residence, Rome, Italy

March 28, Friday

President Obama and His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of His Majesty hold a bilateral meeting
Rawdat Khuraim,  Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

President Obama spends the night
Ritz Carlton, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

March 29, Saturday

President Obama Presents to Dr. Maha Al Muneef the State Department’s 2014 Women of Courage Award
Ritz Carlton, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

President Obama meets and greets with Embassy personnel
Ritz Carlton, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

President Obama departs Saudi Arabia for the White House

Obama_Biden_thumbnail

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60 Responses to Pres Obama’s European Travel: NS Summit, EU-US Summit & NATO

  1. CR says:

    WH

    Sunday, March 23, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    8:50 PM
    President Obama departs for the Hague, Netherlands
    The South Lawn

    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  2. CR says:

    Pres Obama’s European Travel & 2014 Nuclear Security Summit

    January 21, 2014

    Statement by the Press Secretary on the President’s Travel to the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy in March 2014

    As part of the United States’ ongoing consultations with our allies and partners in Europe and beyond, President Obama will travel to the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy in March 2014. While in the Netherlands on March 24-25, the President will participate in the Nuclear Security Summit, hosted by the Dutch government, where world leaders will highlight progress made to secure nuclear materials and commit to future steps to prevent nuclear terrorism. He will also hold bilateral events with Dutch officials.

    From the Netherlands, the President will travel to Brussels on March 26 for a U.S.-EU Summit with the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission. This will be President Obama’s first visit to the EU institutions. While in Belgium, the President will also hold bilateral events with Belgian Government officials and with the NATO Secretary General.

    The President will continue on to Vatican City on March 27 to meet with His Holiness, Pope Francis. The President looks forward to discussing with Pope Francis their shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality. In Rome, the President will meet with President Napolitano and Prime Minister Letta.
    While in Brussels, the president will also hold bilateral events with both Belgian government officials and the NATO Security General.

    • CR says:

      February 03, 2014

      Statement by the Press Secretary on the President’s Travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in March 2014

      As part of regular consultations between our two countries, President Obama will travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in March 2014 to meet with His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud. The President looks forward to discussing with King Abdullah the enduring and strategic ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia as well as ongoing cooperation to advance a range of common interests related to Gulf and regional security, peace in the Middle East, countering violent extremism, and other issues of prosperity and security. The President will travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia following his travel to the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy.

    • CR says:

      2014 Nuclear Security Summit
      24-25 March 2014
      World Forum Convention Center
      Netherlands

      2014 Nuclear Security Summit

      The Netherlands, the organising country, will focus on the following achievable and visible goals:

      Optimal security for and, if at all possible, a reduction in the use of highly enriched uranium and plutonium.

      Ratification of the amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material by more countries to ensure that the amendment enters into force as soon as possible.

      More frequent reviews of state security structures by IAEA advisory missions.

      National registration and protection of highly radioactive sources (e.g. medical equipment).

      Greater role for industry in nuclear security, to enhance the security culture and existing regulations.States should provide information to their own people and the international community to demonstrate that they are taking appropriate measures to maintain the security of their nuclear material and facilities.

      These confidence-building measures will increase trust in the international protection system.

      For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Nuclear_Security_Summit

      • COS says:

        Hey CR. Thanks for PBO’s schedule next week. He will be to busy to come up for air. Wow!

        • CR says:

          Hi COS!

          Yes it will be busy. I am so glad that he did get to unwind that weekend in Key West.

  3. CR says:

    First Lady Michelle Obama Travels To China

    March 23

    First Lady Michelle Obama hosts an education roundtable.
    Beijing, China

    First Lady Michelle Obama visits the Great Wall of China.
    Beijing, China

    • CR says:

      March 23, 2014

      Remarks by the First Lady and Ambassador Baucus Before Roundtable with Chinese Educators, Parents and Students

      American Embassy Beijing, China

      10:09 A.M. CST

      AMBASSADOR BAUCUS: Zăoshàng hăo. We’re very honored that all of you are here. And it’s most appropriate that we’re — talked about education — and, more specifically, how we can help each other get that — of educating each other, helping each other and learning from each other’s country, and how we can work better together.

      I’m going to be very brief. I just wanted to tell you how excited I am that Michelle Obama is here; second, the subject is just — it’s education. It’s kids, because the kids are our future.

      I believe that all of us have a moral obligation who are on this place — on this planet — we’re not here very long. We leave it, and we leave it in as good a shape or better shape than we found it. That means our children and our grandchildren — leave it in as good a shape, a better shape than we found it for our kids and for our grandkids. And education is a key way to help accomplish that objective.

      So I just wanted to tell you how happy we are that we’re here together. And thank you, Mrs. Obama, for being here.

      MRS. OBAMA: Oh, thank you. Thank you, Ambassador Baucus. I’m not going to talk long either.

      I have had a wonderful first few days here in Beijing. And, as the Ambassador said, one of the reasons I have come to China is to learn more about education around the world. Education is an important focus for me. It’s personal, because I wouldn’t be where I am today without my parents investing and pushing me to get a good education.

      And my parents were not educated themselves, but one of the things they understood was that my brother and I needed that foundation. So the President and I have made education a key focus of our work over the coming years because we want to make sure that as many young people in the United States and around the world, quite frankly, have access to education.

      So I’ve had a chance to visit a high school with Madame Peng here in Beijing and talked to some of the high school students there. Yesterday, I had an amazing conversation with a group of students at Peking University yesterday, along with students at Stanford because through the Internet, we were able to have a joint conversation. In a couple of days, I’m going to travel to Chengdu, and I’m going to be able to speak with more high school students there, really to see another region of the country and to speak to the students there, as well. So I’m very excited.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/23/remarks-first-lady-and-ambassador-baucus-roundtable-chinese-educators-pa

    • CR says:

      On Board: Travels with the First Lady in China, Day Three

      Published on Mar 23, 2014

      Go on board with the First Lady, Michelle Obama, as she answers your questions from the road in China. See more at http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/fore

  4. CR says:

    March 23, 2014

    Statement by the President on the Fourth Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act

    Since I signed the Affordable Care Act into law, the share of Americans with insurance is up, and the growth of health care costs is down, to its slowest rate in fifty years – two of the most promising developments for our middle class and our fiscal future in a long time.

    More Americans with insurance have gained new benefits and protections – the 100 million Americans who’ve gained the right to free preventive care like mammograms and contraception, the eight million seniors who’ve saved thousands of dollars on their prescription drugs, and the untold number of families who won’t be driven into bankruptcy by out-of-pocket costs, because this law prevents insurers from placing dollar limits on the care you can receive.

    More Americans without insurance have gained coverage. Over the past four years, over three million young Americans have been able to stay on their family plans. And over the past five and a half months alone, more than five million Americans have signed up to buy private health insurance plans on HealthCare.gov – plans that can no longer discriminate against preexisting conditions or charge you more just because you’re a woman or a cancer survivor – and millions more have enrolled in Medicaid.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/23/statement-president-fourth-anniversary-affordable-care-act

    • CR says:

      GOP WRONG WAY

      Four Years Into Obamacare, GOP Comes Up Short On Alternative

      MARCH 23, 2014, 8:00 AM SAHIL KAPUR – tpm

      Four years after Obamacare was enacted, and more than 50 House votes to undo it, Republicans remain dedicated to destroying the law. But they’re still lost on what they’d put in its place if given the chance.

      House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is leading the effort to craft a GOP alternative, and promised his members a vote in 2014. He faces a sea of obstacles to writing a health care bill with sufficient support in the House, and potentially a world of hurt if he follows through with his commitment.

      “House Republicans will rally around and pass an alternative to Obamacare this year,” Cantor told Republicans at their annual conference retreat in January.

      The aim is to stitch together a series of ideas with broad GOP support, such as letting people buy insurance across state lines, reforming medical malpractice laws and expanding high-risk pools and incentive-based health savings accounts, according to sources familiar with the effort.

      Cantor is said to be holding regular meetings with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House GOP Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and roping in the House doctors caucus and the ultraconservative Republican Study Committee. One of the reasons he believes it’s possible is that hard-core conservatives, the sort that most often scuttle leadership’s plans, actually want an alternative.

      But it’s still a long shot with high risks and few rewards.

      For one, the project is greatly complicated by election year considerations. Many Republicans would rather hammer Obamacare than do the hard work of crafting and defending a bill of their own. And even if House Republicans coalesce around a bill — a big if — it’ll invariably carry its own set of tradeoffs and disruptions. That’ll be tougher to defend while Republicans are raising hell about cancellations and other disruptions caused by Obamacare.

      For more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/obamacare-four-years-republican-alternative

  5. CR says:

    Sunday talk show tip sheet

    “Meet the Press” on NBC

    • Former President Jimmy Carter
    • Education Secretary Arne Duncan
    • Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman, House Intelligence Committee
    • Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff
    • Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D)

    “Face the Nation” on CBS
    • Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney(R)
    • Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
    • Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)

    “This Week” on ABC
    • Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)
    • Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.)

    “Fox News Sunday” on Fox
    • Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas), chairman, House Homeland Security Committee
    • Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R)

    “State of the Union” on CNN
    • Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken
    • Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.)
    • Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)
    • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.)

    “Political Capital” on Bloomberg TV
    • Jason Furman, chairman, White House Council of Economic Advisers

    “Newsmakers” on C-SPAN
    • Karen Ignagni, president and CEO, America’s Health Insurance Plans

  6. CR says:

    NATO general warns of further Russian aggression

    March 23, 4:49 AM By Carol Morello, Griff Witte and Will Englund – washingtonpost

    BELBEK, Crimea — NATO’s top military commander warned Sunday that Russia could seek to expand its territorial conquest to new areas, just a day after Russian forces seized some of the final Ukrainian military installations in the contested Crimean peninsula.

    NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, said Russia had assembled a large force on Ukraine’s eastern border that could pose a threat to Moldova’s separatist Transnistria region.

    “The [Russian] force that is at the Ukrainian border now to the east is very, very sizeable and very, very ready,” Breedlove said at an event sponsored by the German Marshall Fund.

    Ukraine’s east is also considered under threat; Ukrainian officials have been warning for weeks that Russia is trying to provoke a conflict there, a charge Russia denies.

    For more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/nato-general-warns-of-further-russian-aggression/2014/03/23/2ff63bb6-b269-11e3-8020-b2d790b3c9e1_story.html?hpid=z1

  7. Isaac Nuru says:

    Thanks, CR

  8. CR says:

    WH

    Monday, March 24, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    4:00 AM
    President Obama arrives in the Hague, Netherlands

    4:45 AM
    President Obama meets with Dutch Prime Minister Rutte
    Amsterdam, Netherlands

    4:50 AM
    President Obama tours the Rijksmuseum with Dutch Prime Minister Rutte
    Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

    5:15 AM
    President Obama and Dutch Prime Minister Rutte hold a bilateral meeting
    U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, The Hague, Netherlands

    5:45 AM
    President Obama and Dutch Prime Minister Rutte delivers remarks
    U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, The Hague, Netherlands

    6:00 AM
    7:00 AM
    7:45 AM
    President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping hold a bilateral meeting
    U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, The Hague, Netherlands

    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    President Obama attends opening summit seasons
    World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

    10:30 AM
    President Obama attends first plenary summit seasons
    World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

    President Obama attends scenario-based policy seasons
    World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    1:30 PM
    President Obama attends a G-7 meeting
    Dutch Prime Minister Rutte’s residence, Catshuis, The Hague, Netherlands

    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    President Obama participates in a family photo
    Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

    3:35 PM
    President Obama meets with Dutch King Willem-Alexander
    Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

    President Obama and Dutch King Willem-Alexander hold a working dinner
    Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    Vice President delivers remarks at the award celebration for the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting
    Kaiser Family Foundation, Washington, D.C.

    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  9. CR says:

    President Obama’s European Travel Itinerary

    March 24

    President Obama meets with Dutch Prime Minister Rutte
    Amsterdam, Netherlands

    President Obama tours the Rijksmuseum with Dutch Prime Minister Rutte
    Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

    President Obama and Dutch Prime Minister Rutte hold a bilateral meeting
    U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, The Hague, Netherlands

    President Obama and Dutch Prime Minister Rutte deliver remarks
    U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, The Hague, Netherlands

    President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping hold a bilateral meeting
    U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, The Hague, Netherlands

    President Obama attends opening summit seasons
    World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

    President Obama attends first plenary summit seasons
    World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

    President Obama attends scenario-based policy seasons
    World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

    President Obama attends a G-7 meeting
    Dutch Prime Minister Rutte’s residence, Catshuis, The Hague, Netherlands

    President Obama meets with Dutch King Willem-Alexander
    Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

    President Obama participates in a family photo
    Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

    President Obama and Dutch King Willem-Alexander hold a working dinner
    Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

    • CR says:

      On Board With President Obama – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

      Published on Mar 24, 2014

      President Obama and Prime Minister Rutte of the Netherlands speak to the press after a bilateral meeting a the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. March 24, 2014.

    • CR says:

      March 24, 2014

      The Hague Declaration [by the G-7]

      1. We, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission met in The Hague to reaffirm our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.

      2. International law prohibits the acquisition of part or all of another state’s territory through coercion or force. To do so violates the principles upon which the international system is built. We condemn the illegal referendum held in Crimea in violation of Ukraine’s constitution. We also strongly condemn Russia’s illegal attempt to annex Crimea in contravention of international law and specific international obligations. We do not recognize either.

      3. Today, we reaffirm that Russia’s actions will have significant consequences. This clear violation of international law is a serious challenge to the rule of law around the world and should be a concern for all nations. In response to Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to demonstrate our determination to respond to these illegal actions, individually and collectively we have imposed a variety of sanctions against Russia and those individuals and entities responsible. We remain ready to intensify actions including coordinated sectoral sanctions that will have an increasingly significant impact on the Russian economy, if Russia continues to escalate this situation.

      4. We remind Russia of its international obligations, and its responsibilities including those for the world economy. Russia has a clear choice to make. Diplomatic avenues to de-escalate the situation remain open, and we encourage the Russian Government to take them. Russia must respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, begin discussions with the Government of Ukraine, and avail itself of offers of international mediation and monitoring to address any legitimate concerns.

      5. The Russian Federation’s support for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine is a step in the right direction. We look forward to the mission’s early deployment, in order to facilitate the dialogue on the ground, reduce tensions and promote normalization of the situation, and we call on all parties to ensure that Special Monitoring Mission members have safe and secure access throughout Ukraine to fulfill their mandate.

      6. This Group came together because of shared beliefs and shared responsibilities. Russia’s actions in recent weeks are not consistent with them. Under these circumstances, we will not participate in the planned Sochi Summit. We will suspend our participation in the G-8 until Russia changes course and the environment comes back to where the G-8 is able to have a meaningful discussion and will meet again in G-7 format at the same time as planned, in June 2014, in Brussels, to discuss the broad agenda we have together. We have also advised our Foreign Ministers not to attend the April meeting in Moscow. In addition, we have decided that G-7 Energy Ministers will meet to discuss ways to strengthen our collective energy security.

      7. At the same time, we stand firm in our support for the people of Ukraine who seek to restore unity, democracy, political stability, and economic prosperity to their country. We commend the Ukrainian government’s ambitious reform agenda and will support its implementation as Ukraine seeks to start a new chapter in its history, grounded on a broad-based constitutional reform, free and fair presidential elections in May, promotion of human rights and respect of national minorities.

      8. The International Monetary Fund has a central role leading the international effort to support Ukrainian reform, lessening Ukraine’s economic vulnerabilities, and better integrating the country as a market economy in the multilateral system. We strongly support the IMF’s work with the Ukrainian authorities and urge them to reach a rapid conclusion. IMF support will be critical in unlocking additional assistance from the World Bank, other international financial institutions, the EU, and bilateral sources. We remain united in our commitment to provide strong financial backing to Ukraine, to co-ordinate our technical assistance, and to provide assistance in other areas, including measures to enhance trade and strengthen energy security.

  10. CR says:

    First Lady Michelle Obama Travels To China

    March 24

    First Lady Michelle Obama visits the Terra Cotta Warriors Museum.
    Xi’an, China

    First Lady Michelle Obama visits the Xi’an City Wall.
    Xi’an, China

  11. CR says:

    Analysts: US Economy Steadily Advancing Through 2015

    March 24, 2014 VOA News

    A group of U.S. business economists says it sees the American economy advancing steadily through next year, with the nation’s production expanding and the jobless rate falling.

    The National Association for Business Economics says an unusually cold and snowy winter curtailed economic growth in the past three months, but it expects economic expansion to accelerate through 2015.

    The group’s panel of 48 economists said the January-to-March advance is likely to reach a weak 1.9 percent. But it said growth could end the year at a pace of more than three percent.

    The panel predicted 2.8 percent growth for all of 2014 for the world’s largest economy, up from 1.9 percent in 2013. It projects a 3.1 percent advance in 2015.

    The group’s president, Jack Kleinhenz, said the country’s labor market, consumer spending and housing industry are all expected to improve over the next two years.

    The business group said the country’s jobless rate will fall, to 6.4 percent this year and to 6.1 percent in 2015.

    At the same time, a majority of the economists surveyed predicted that the U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve, would end its direct support of the American economy by the end of 2014. That projection is in line with Fed statements that it expects to curtail its purchase of billions of dollars of securities to boost the economy if its fortunes continue to improve.

    As the U.S. economy advances, the economists said they expect the Federal Reserve to increase its benchmark interest rate from the current near zero level to three-quarters of one percent by the end of 2015. Such an increase would ripple through the U.S. economy, with consumers and businesses forced to pay higher interest rates on a variety of types of loans.

  12. CR says:

    Manufacturing in U.S. Expands at Second-Highest Rate Since January 2013

    Mar 24, 2014 6:45 AM PT By Lorraine Woellert – bloomberg

    The Markit Economics preliminary index of U.S. manufacturing decreased to 55.5 in March from 57.1 a month earlier, the London-based group said today.

    A reading above 50 indicates expansion. This month’s reading was the second-highest since January 2013. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 19 economists was 56.5, with estimates ranging from 54 to 58.

    The group’s new-orders index declined to 58 from 59.6 in February. Employment also continued to grow at a slower pace in March.

    The Markit index is based on a survey of purchasing managers at more than 600 American manufacturers and has an 85 percent to 90 percent response rate.

    Other reports today showed China’s manufacturing industry weakened in March for a fifth straight month and growth at euro-area factories and service providers held close to the fastest since 2011.

    The Purchasing Managers’ Index for China from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit dropped to 48.1, compared with the 48.7 median estimate of 22 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News and February’s final 48.5 figure.

    In the euro zone, indexes for both industries based on surveys of purchasing managers were little changed from February, Markit said in a statement. A composite gauge slipped to 53.2 from 53.3 in February, matching the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 26 economists. The index has been above 50 since July.

  13. CR says:

    WH

    Monday, March 25, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    First Lady Michelle Obama visits Chengdu No. 7 High School. During remarks to students, Mrs. Obama will highlight the importance of education in her own life and in the lives of students in both the United States and China.
    Chengdu, China

    First Lady Michelle Obama meets with staff and families of the United States Consulate in Chengdu.
    Chengdu, China

    4:00 AM
    4:15 AM
    President Obama meets with Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev
    U.S. Ambassador’s residence, The Netherlands

    4:55 AM
    President Obama attends plenary summit seasons
    World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

    President Obama attends additional summit seasons
    World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

    5:00 AM
    6:00 AM
    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    President Obama holds a joint press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Rutte
    World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

    12:00 PM
    President Obama and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan hold a bilateral meeting
    United States Ambassador’s residence, The Hague, Netherlands

    1:00 PM
    1:30 PM
    President Obama, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe hold a trilateral meeting
    United States Ambassador’s residence , The Hague, Netherlands

    1:45 PM
    Vice President Biden delivers remarks at an event highlighting workforce development and the value of on-the-job training opportunities
    New Hampshire Works Center, Nashua, New Hampshire

    2:00 PM
    President Obama meets with U.S. Embassy members
    United States Ambassador’s residence , The Hague, Netherlands

    3:00 PM
    3:35 PM
    President Obama travels to Brussels, Belgium

    4:00 PM
    4:15 PM
    President Obama arrives Brussels, Belgium

    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  14. CR says:

    President Obama’s European Travel Itinerary

    March 25

    President Obama meets with Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev
    U.S. Ambassador’s residence, The Netherlands

    President Obama holds a joint press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Rutte
    Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands

    President Obama attends plenary Nuclear Security Summit sessions
    World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

    President Obama attends additional summit seasons

    President Obama and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan hold a bilateral meeting
    United States Ambassador’s residence, The Hague, Netherlands

    President Obama, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe hold a trilateral meeting
    United States Ambassador’s residence , The Hague, Netherlands

    President Obama meets with U.S. Embassy members
    United States Ambassador’s residence , The Hague, Netherlands

    President Obama travels to Brussels, Belgium

    • CR says:

      On the Rhodes 3/25/14 – The G7 & Beyond

      Published on Mar 25, 2014

      Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communication, takes us “On The Rhodes” in the Netherlands, during the first two days of the President’s six day, four country trip to Europe & Saudi Arabia. The President was in Holland for the third of the Nuclear Security Summits that he created in 2010. He also convened the G7, toured the Rijksmuseum, and held bilateral meetings.

    • CR says:

      11:00 AM ET
      President Obama Holds a Joint Press Conference with Danish Prime Minister Rutte
      Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Netherlands

      WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

      • CR says:

        March 25, 2014

        Press Conference with President Obama and Prime Minister Rutte of the Netherlands

        Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
        The Hague, The Netherlands

        4:06 P.M. CET

        PRIME MINISTER RUTTE: Good afternoon. Making the world safer by preventing nuclear terrorism — that was President Obama’s goal when he made nuclear security an international priority in Prague in 2009. We have taken a big step in The Hague. I’m proud to present our The Hague Nuclear Summit Communiqué to you today. Building on the progress we made earlier in Washington and Seoul, this communiqué sets the bar even higher. We have taken major steps towards meeting all three main objectives of the NSS process. I’ll say a few words about each of them.

        The first objective is to reduce the amount of dangerous nuclear material in the world. The less dangerous nuclear material there is and the better the nuclear security, the smaller the chance that terrorists will be able to get hold of it. It’s that simple. That’s why I am pleased that the 53 countries and four international organizations here have confirmed that commitment to continue reducing stocks of dangerous nuclear material — highly enriched uranium and plutonium.

        A number of countries have announced their intention to hand over their highly enriched uranium to the U.S., where it will be downgraded. As chair of this summit, I naturally welcome this announcement.

        We are also making progress on the second objective, improving the security of nuclear and other radioactive material. We have affirmed our ambition to improve the security of materials that can be used to make nuclear weapons and the security of radiological sources that terrorists could use to make dirty bombs.

        The commitment of the NSS became more concrete in this matter. The skill of panic and fear a dirty bomb would cause doesn’t bear thinking about, not to mention the possible disruption to society. So I’m especially pleased that we are widening the scope of the NSS process to include this area.

        Furthermore, the NSS countries have encouraged implementation of the IAEA nuclear security guidelines. A significant number of us have decided to take this commitment even further. As chair of this summit, I’m delighted to announce that two-thirds of the NSS countries, on the initiative of the United States, Korea and the Netherlands, have pledged to incorporate these important IAEA recommendations into their national legislation. This sends a very good message and represents tangible progress. I can’t stress enough how important this is. And, fortunately, the group of countries supporting this initiative is growing. Our ultimate goal is, of course, for all NSS countries to follow this lead and set an example for other countries.

        I’m also pleased with the growing awareness among NSS countries of the importance of nuclear forensics, because if nuclear material is misused or smuggled, it’s important to be able to determine the origin of the material and trace the smugglers. The Netherlands Forensic Institute is playing a prominent role and I expect it will produce a lot of good work in this field in the coming years.

        The third main objective of the summit is to enhance international cooperation. A substantial part of the communiqué addresses this and we are making good progress. The closing statement lays the basis for an efficient and sustainable international security architecture. For the first time, there will be a complete and coherent overview of the international nuclear security architecture with the IAEA taking the lead. There is still a lot of work to be done in this area, too. I expect that we will be able to finish off the details at the summit in 2016 in the U.S.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/25/press-conference-president-obama-and-prime-minister-rutte-netherlands

    • CR says:

      March 25, 2014

      Remarks by President Obama at Closing Session of the Nuclear Security Summit

      The World Forum
      The Hague, The Netherlands

      3:15 P.M. CET

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, thank you very much, Mark. Let me begin just by saying that — to Prime Minister Rutte and all the people here in the Netherlands who were involved in organizing this summit, you did an extraordinary job. And I think we would all agree that this was as well-designed and well-executed as any international summit that we’ve attended. And so we’re very grateful, and you’ve set a high bar for the work that needs to be done in Chicago.

      Two things I want to do is, number one, just remind everybody what has been accomplished. In previous summits, as a consequence to the work that’s been done collectively, 12 countries and two dozen nuclear facilities around the world have rid themselves entirely of highly-enriched uranium and plutonium. Dozens of nations have boosted security at their nuclear storage sites; built their own counter-smuggling teams; or created new centers to improve nuclear security and training. The IAEA is stronger. More countries have ratified the treaties and international partnerships at the heart of our efforts.

      And at this particular summit, we’ve seen such steps as Belgium and Italy completing the removal of their excess supplies of highly-enriched uranium and plutonium so that those supplied s can be eliminated. In a major commitment, Japan announced that it will work with the United States to eliminate hundreds of kilograms of weapons-usable nuclear material from one of their experimental reactors, which would be enough for a dozen nuclear weapons. Dozens of other nations have agreed to take specific steps towards improving nuclear security in their own countries and to support global efforts.

      So what’s been valuable about this summit is that it has not just been talk, it’s been action. And that is because of the leadership that has been shown by heads of state and government — and heads of government that have participated in this effort, as well as the extraordinary work of foreign ministers and sherpas and others who have helped to move this process forward.

      I’m looking forward to hosting all of you in the United States, in 2016. We had a good discussion this afternoon about how we should conceive of this summit two years from now. The consensus, based on what I heard, was that we should recognize this next summit will be a transition summit in which heads of state and government are still participating, but that we are shifting towards a more sustainable model that utilizes our ministers, our technical people, and we are building some sort of architecture that can effectively focus and implement on these issues and supplement the good work that is being done by the IAEA and others.

      So I see two tasks before us over the next two years. Number one is we have to set very clearly what are the actionable items that we’ve already identified that we know can get done if we have the political will to do them, and let’s go ahead and get them done so that in 2016 we can report out that we have made extraordinary progress and achieved many of the benchmarks and targets that we had set at the very first Nuclear Security Summit. In other words, I think it is important for us not to relax, but rather accelerate our efforts over the next two years, sustain momentum so that we finish strong in 2016. And my team will be contacting all of you to find out specific ways in which you think we can move the ball forward over the next two years.

      The second thing we’ll be doing is soliciting ideas from each of you about the ultimate architecture that should be constructed to ensure that beyond 2016 we are able to keep this process alive and effective, and that we are able to sync up the efforts of the Nuclear Security Summit with existing institutions like the IAEA, Interpol, the United Nations, some of the treaties that are already in force.

      All of you have important views on that, and we’re going to want to make sure that you provide them so that by the time we get to 2016 we have a well thought-out process that can be ratified at that meeting.

      So I cannot thank you enough for the extraordinary efforts that all of you have already made. I cannot guarantee that the videos will be as good at the Washington conference as they’ve been here. We may not be as creative and imaginative as Mark and his team have been. But I promise you that we will continue to stay focused on this very important issue, and we look forward to your contributions in 2016 in the United States.

      Thank you very much, Mark. (Applause.)

      END
      3:21 P.M. CET

  15. CR says:

    First Lady Michelle Obama Travels To China

    March 25

    First Lady Michelle Obama visits Chengdu No. 7 High School. During remarks to students, Mrs. Obama will highlight the importance of education in her own life and in the lives of students in both the United States and China.
    Chengdu, China

    First Lady Michelle Obama meets with staff and families of the United States Consulate in Chengdu.
    Chengdu, China

    • CR says:

      March 25, 2014

      Remarks by the First Lady at Number Seven School — Chengdu, China

      Chengdu, China

      10:50 A.M. CST

      MRS. OBAMA: (Applause.) Ni hao. It is truly a pleasure to be here at the Number Seven School. Thank you so much for your warm welcome.

      Now, before I get started, on behalf of myself and my husband, I want to say that our hearts go out to all those with loved ones on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. As I said this past weekend when I spoke at Peking University, we are very much keeping all of them in our thoughts and our prayers at this tremendously difficult time.

      So now, let me start by thanking your Principal, Principal Liu, and your classmate, Ju Chao, for that wonderful introduction. Your English, Ju Chao, is excellent, and you should be very proud. Thank you so much. (Applause.) And I want to thank all of the students here today, both those of you here in person and those of you joining remotely from across the region. I’m thrilled to be visiting your wonderful school.

      Now, in preparation for this visit, before I left the U.S. I visited the Yu Ying School. It’s a public school near the White House in Washington, D.C., and all of the students at this school study Chinese. And I met with the sixth-grade class, kids who are 11 and 12 years old. They had recently taken a trip here to China, and they were bursting with excitement. They were eager to tell me about everything about what they had seen.

      But they admitted that before their trip, they had all kinds of misconceptions about China. They thought they would see palaces and temples everywhere they went, but instead they found massive cities filled with skyscrapers. They weren’t sure that they’d like the food here in China, but they actually loved it, and they learned how to use chopsticks. And in the end, one of the students told me –- and this is his quote — he said, “Coming home was really exciting, but was at the same time sad.”

      Now, meeting these students reminded me that when we live so far away from each other, it’s easy to develop all kinds of misconceptions and stereotypes. It’s easy to focus on our differences –- how we speak different languages and eat different foods and observe different traditions. But as I travel the world, and I meet young people from so many countries, I’m always struck by how much more we have in common. And that’s been particularly true during my visit here in China.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/25/remarks-first-lady-number-seven-school-chengdu-china

    • CR says:

      March 25, 2014

      Remarks by the First Lady Before Number Seven School Classroom Visit — Chengdu, China

      Number Seven High School
      Chengdu, China

      11:16 A.M. CST

      MRS. OBAMA: (Applause.) Well, I’m very excited to meet all of you. I am here to learn from you. I’m very interested to hear all the things you’re doing here at the Number Seven School. I’m really interested to see how the distance-learning program works here; it sounds very exciting.

      And also, I’m open to answering any questions that you all have as well, so feel free. So I’m going to stop talking, because I want to hear from you. But thank you for such a warm welcome.

      You all truly make me proud, and it is wonderful to be able to highlight all that you’re doing here to students here in the United States who are following my trip. So you all are wonderful examples and wonderful representation of your country.

      So thank you. (Applause.)

      MR. XIE: Mrs. Obama — for your coming. We, too, feel very honored for your coming. As you can see here, it’s our usual class. And every day, we have tens of thousands of students having the class at the same time. And we are from Number Seven High School — campus district schools. And here you can see in the screen is a district school from Wen Jiang Number Two, the school. It’s a town not very far away from Chengdu, like half-an hour drive from Chengdu. But we still have another school from our — distant school, and it’s about four hours’ drive. It’s in Nanchong, Yi Long High School.

      So we are very eager to ask you questions later. But first of all, we would like to greet the — welcome you. So would you please say something to our First Lady here?

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/25/remarks-first-lady-number-seven-school-classroom-visit-chengdu-china

    • CR says:

      1:30 PM ET
      Discovery Education ”Exchange for a Day” with First Lady Michelle Obama

      “Exchange for a Day” with Discovery Education: From Peking University in Beijing
      First Lady Michelle answers questions submitted by classrooms around the country, as part of Discovery Education and the White House’s “Of the People” webinar series. Jeff Wood, an American student from D.C. who is currently studying abroad in China, will pose questions to the First Lady on behalf of Discovery Education’s online audience.

  16. CR says:

    Home Prices in 20 U.S. Cities Rose 13.2% in Year to January

    Mar 25, 2014 6:17 AM PT By Victoria Stilwell – bloomberg

    Residential real-estate prices climbed at a slower pace in the year through January than a month earlier, indicating momentum in the housing market may be cooling.

    The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities increased 13.2 percent from January 2013, the smallest gain since August, after rising 13.4 percent in the 12 months through December, the group said today in New York. The median projection of 30 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 13.3 percent advance. Compared with the prior month, prices rose 0.8 percent.

    Price appreciation on a year-over-year basis has eased in recent months as higher mortgage rates and unusually severe winter weather slowed demand for properties. Smaller increases in asking prices will help improve affordability, providing support for the residential real-estate market, which has been a source of strength for the economy.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-25/home-prices-in-20-u-s-cities-rose-13-2-in-year-to-january.html

  17. CR says:

    10:00 AM ET
    White House Champions of Change: Women Veteran Leaders
    The White House

    WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

    • CR says:

      Champions of Change: Women Veteran Leaders

      Published on Mar 26, 2014

      The White House honors women veteran leaders and their incredible contributions to our nation’s business, public, and community service sectors. March 25, 2014.

  18. CR says:

    Consumer Confidence in U.S. Rose to Six-Year High in March

    Mar 25, 2014 7:39 AM PT By Katherine Peralta – bloomberg

    Consumer Confidence Jumps on Growing Expectations
    Consumer confidence climbed in March to the highest level since 2008 as more Americans grew optimistic about the outlook for the world’s largest economy.

    The Conference Board’s index increased to 82.3 this month, the highest since January 2008, from a revised 78.3 in February that was stronger than initially estimated, the New York-based private research group said today. Another report showed home values rose at a slower pace in the year ended in January.

    The share of Americans projecting business conditions would get better over the next six months rose to the highest level since September. A pickup in hiring that drives wage growth would provide a bigger boost to the expansion at the same time warmer temperatures help persuade consumers to return to retailers.

    “The weather does naturally lift our spirits and we’re hoping that that also parlays through into consumer spending patterns,” Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit, said before the report. “The consumer-related data, particularly unemployment, has not been quite as bad as maybe some were thinking because of the weather, so I think consumers are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-25/consumer-confidence-index-in-u-s-increased-to-82-3-in-march.html

  19. CR says:

    March 25, 2014

    White House Report: Race to the Top Setting the Pace for Gains across the Education System

    More support for educators and increases in student achievement are among signs of progress as anniversary of President Obama’s signature education reform approaches

    WASHINGTON, DC – In the four years since the Obama Administration announced its first Race to the Top grants, the President’s signature education initiative has helped spark a wave of reform across the country, according to the attached report released today by the White House and Department of Education.

    As the four-year anniversary of those grants approaches this week, “Setting the Pace” finds that the President’s education reform agenda has helped raise standards for students, better support teachers and school leaders, and turn around low-performing schools. Ultimately, these efforts have led to signs of encouraging progress among the nation’s students.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/25/white-house-report-race-top-setting-pace-gains-across-education-system

  20. CR says:

    1:45 PM ET
    Vice President Biden delivers remarks at an event highlighting workforce development and the value of on-the-job training opportunities
    New Hampshire Works Center, Nashua, New Hampshire

    WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

  21. CR says:

    First Lady Michelle Obama Travels To China

    Chengdu, China

    March 26

    First Lady Michelle Obama visits the Chengdu Panda Base. The Chengdu Panda Base is currently home to approximately 50 pandas, ranging in age from infancy to full-grown adults. Chinese scientists spend their days working to increase the panda population through research, conservation, and breeding.

    First Lady Michelle Obama departs Chengdu and returns to Washington D.C.

    • CR says:

      Raw Video: Behind the Scenes at Chengdu Panda Base with Fist Lady Michelle Obama

      Published on Mar 26, 2014

      Go behind the scenes with the First Lady at Chengdu Panda Base in Chengdu, China, on the last day of her official visit to China. Learn more about the First Lady’s trip at http://www.wh.gov/First-Lady-China-Trip

  22. CR says:

    President Obama’s European Travel Itinerary

    March 26
    President Obama meets with Belgian King King Philippe and Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo
    Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama attends a wreath laying
    Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama tours battlefield
    Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

    President delivers remarks
    Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama attends the US-EU Summit
    Council of the European Union, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama meets with European Commission Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy – US-EU Summit
    Council of the European Union, Justus Lipsius Building, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama attends a US-EU Summit working lunch
    Council of the European Union, Justus Lipsius Building, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama, European Commission Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy hold a press conference – EU-US Summit
    Council of the European Union, Justus Lipsius Building, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama meets with employees and family members of the U.S. Tri-Mission to Belgium
    The Hotel, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama meets with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
    The Hotel,, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama in Address to European Youth
    The Palais des Beaux-Arts (BOZAR) aka Paleis voor Schone Kunsten (PSK) The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama departs for Rome

    • CR says:

      9:00 AM ET
      President Obama participates in a press conference at the Council of the E.U. in Brussels with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.
      Justus Lipsius Building, Brussels, Belgium

      WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

      CSPAN http://www.c-span.org/video/?318505-1/useuropean-union-summit

    • CR says:

      March 26, 2014

      Remarks by President Obama, His Majesty King Philippe, and Prime Minister di Rupo of Belgium at Flanders Field Cemetery

      Waregem, Belgium

      11:17 A.M. CET

      HIS MAJESTY KING PHILIPPE: Mr. President, we are deeply moved to stand here with you amidst the graves of brave American soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom. We remember and honor all those who took part in the First World War and who were killed or maimed, and those who, even if they survived, were often scarred forever by the dreadful experience. We will always be grateful for the sacrifice.

      The United States of America fought side-by-side with Belgium and other European nations. As President Woodrow Wilson said, “There is a price which is too great to pay for peace, and that price can be put in one word. One cannot pay the price of self-respect.”

      For Belgium, this was true when my great-grandfather, King Albert I, led our country in its rejection of the Kaiser’s ultimatum, and defended Belgium’s status of neutrality. The horrors of the trench warfare, including the use of chemical weapons for the first time ever in world history, the deaths of so many soldiers — all this was the acid bath in which many of the old beliefs were dissolved.

      The First World War led to many changes in all our countries. Many reforms were introduced in the following years. However, the so-called “war to end all wars” was followed by an even more brutal one, which engulfed most of the world and which, moreover, saw the heartrending atrocity of the Holocaust.

      Our countries have learned the hard way that national sovereignty quickly reaches its limits when confronted to its heavily armed adversary who do not respect that sovereignty. Thanks to visionary people, we started on the road of European integration. It was and remains a rocky road, but we are truly convinced that it is the only one. Today, international cooperation, both regional and global, is more than ever necessary to roll back the scourge of war and violence with the tragic wake of human suffering.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/26/remarks-president-obama-his-majesty-king-philippe-and-prime-minister-di-

    • CR says:

      March 26, 2014

      Press Conference by President Obama, European Council President Van Rompuy, and European Commission President Barroso

      Council of the European Union
      Brussels, Belgium

      2:42 P.M. CET

      PRESIDENT VAN ROMPUY: Good afternoon. It has been a great pleasure to welcome President Obama to this EU-U.S. Summit in Brussels.

      We meet at a hugely important moment, certainly for peace and security on the European continent. Events in Ukraine and elsewhere go to show that there are many unsettling uncertainties, and that’s why the solid certainty of the transatlantic relationship is so crucial. It is the bedrock to face these challenges — a bond of friendship tested by history, and that bond is shockproof. Cooperation among our countries is unrivaled. So in our meeting today, we focused on the issues where together — together we can provide the political (inaudible) at the highest level.

      We obviously spoke about Ukraine, today’s most pressing matter. It was a follow-up to our excellent exchange at the G7 meeting in The Hague two days ago. Europe and the United States have a strong and coordinated position. For the EU side, I refer you to the bold statements of last week’s European Council. We support Ukraine and its people in their pursuit for a better life as a nation. Crimea’s illegal annexation is a disgrace in the 21st century and we will not recognize it.

      The first priority is to deescalate the situation. Russia’s support for an OSCE mission in Ukraine is a positive step. The fact that Russia’s and Ukraine’s foreign ministers finally met in The Hague is another sign of more openness. However, if there is further escalation, we Europeans and Americans are ready to intensify sanctions. With the understanding that sanctions are a means to an end, the goal is a negotiated solution in respect of Ukraine’s sovereignty and of international law.

      We also stand by Georgia and Moldova, and the European Union has brought forward to June the signing of the Association Agreement with them.

      Apart from Ukraine, we talked about negotiations with Iran, about working to end the terrible war in Syria, and to stop violence and anarchy in the Central African Republic. Both are humanitarian tragedies.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/26/press-conference-president-obama-european-council-president-van-rompuy-a

    • CR says:

      March 26, 2014

      Remarks by President Obama and NATO Secretary General Rasmussen Before Meeting

      The Hotel

      Brussels, Belgium

      5:33 P.M. CET

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, let me just say how much I appreciate the opportunity once again to meet with Secretary General Rasmussen. I have to say that in the entire time that he has served in this position he has done an outstanding job. His leadership, his vision, his clarity, and his political skills — because there are a lot of NATO members — have all been on display, and as a consequence, the Transatlantic Alliance is stronger, more robust than it was without him. And so we’re very grateful for his extraordinary work.

      At a time when the situation in Ukraine I think has focused everyone’s attention on the importance of the transatlantic relationships, we spent most of our discussion reaffirming the importance of NATO, that it is the bedrock of America’s security as well as European security. We share the view that Russia’s illegal incursion into Ukraine and the violations of territorial integrity and sovereignty have to be condemned, but it also reminds us that the NATO commitments that we’ve made under Article 5 are something that are not just items on a piece of paper, but are critically important to all NATO members. And we have to have the resources and preparation to make sure that every member of NATO feels confident in Article 5’s effect.

      We’ve already made a series of decisions to help underscore the importance of NATO and collective defense in the wake of what has happened in Ukraine. There will be a ministerial summit coming up at which I have asked the United States delegation to work cooperatively with the Secretary General’s office and evaluate all the additional steps that we might take in order to bolster that confidence among all NATO members.

      And we also talked about a project that the Secretary General has been working on for quite some time to continue to develop the joint capabilities of NATO. And I think that at this moment, as I said at the press conference earlier today, both the United States and Europe are going to have to make sure that we are stepping up our game and making the contributions that are required in order for us to give full effect to our NATO obligations.

      One of the things that I’ve been very proud of in working with Secretary Rasmussen is the degree of unanimity that he has been able to forge on a whole range of issues. One of his biggest jobs has been dealing with the situation in Afghanistan as we end our combat mission in Afghanistan and we transition to a train-and-advise situation. He has helped to oversee that process. We do not yet have a Bilateral Security Agreement that fully clarifies what the nature of our mission will be post-2014, but working together, we’re confident that we can prepare for any eventuality and that we can continue to maintain both the counterterrorism commitments as well as the commitments to help develop an Afghan security force that can ensure that Afghanistan does not end up being, once again, a safe haven for terrorism and that it can be a stable and secure country that serves the prosperity and the security of the Afghan people.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/26/remarks-president-obama-and-nato-secretary-general-rasmussen-meeting

    • CR says:

      March 26, 2014
      Remarks by the President in Address to European Youth

      Palais des Beaux Arts
      Brussels, Belgium

      6:16 P.M. EDT

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you so much. Thank you. (Applause.) Please, please have a seat. Good evening. Goede avond. Bonsoir. Guten abend. (Applause.) Thank you, Laura, for that remarkable introduction. Before she came out she told me not to be nervous. (Laughter.) And I can only imagine — I think her father is in the audience, and I can only imagine how proud he is of her. We’re grateful for her work, but she’s also reminding us that our future will be defined by young people like her.

      Your Majesties, Mr. Prime Minister, and the people of Belgium — on behalf of the American people, we are grateful for your friendship. We stand together as inseparable allies, and I thank you for your wonderful hospitality. I have to admit it is easy to love a country famous for chocolate and beer. (Laughter.)

      Leaders and dignitaries of the European Union; representatives of our NATO Alliance; distinguished guests: We meet here at a moment of testing for Europe and the United States, and for the international order that we have worked for generations to build.

      Throughout human history, societies have grappled with fundamental questions of how to organize themselves, the proper relationship between the individual and the state, the best means to resolve inevitable conflicts between states. And it was here in Europe, through centuries of struggle — through war and Enlightenment, repression and revolution — that a particular set of ideals began to emerge: The belief that through conscience and free will, each of us has the right to live as we choose. The belief that power is derived from the consent of the governed, and that laws and institutions should be established to protect that understanding. And those ideas eventually inspired a band of colonialists across an ocean, and they wrote them into the founding documents that still guide America today, including the simple truth that all men — and women — are created equal.

      But those ideals have also been tested — here in Europe and around the world. Those ideals have often been threatened by an older, more traditional view of power. This alternative vision argues that ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs, that order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign. Often, this alternative vision roots itself in the notion that by virtue of race or faith or ethnicity, some are inherently superior to others, and that individual identity must be defined by “us” versus “them,” or that national greatness must flow not by what a people stand for, but by what they are against.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/26/remarks-president-address-european-youth

  23. CR says:

    President Obama’s European Travel Itinerary

    March 27, Thursday

    President Obama meets with His Holiness Pope Francis
    Vatican, Vatican City, Italy

    President Obama meets with Cardinal Secretary of State Parolin
    Vatican, Vatican City, Italy

    President Obama meets with Italian President Napolitano
    Quirinal Palace, Rome, Italy

    President Obama and Italian President Napolitano hold a working lunch
    Quirinal Palace, Rome, Italy

    President Obama and Italian Prime Minister Renzi hold a press conference
    Villa Madama, Rome, Italy

    President Obama tours the Colossum
    Rome, Italy

    President Obama meets with employees and families of the U.S. Tri-Mission to Italy
    Rome, Italy

    President Obama meets with members of The Holy See
    Vatican City, Italy

    President Obama meets with members of the UN Agency
    Rome, Italy

    • CR says:

      Travels with The President – Rome & Vatican City

      Published on Mar 27, 2014

      Thursday March 27th, 2014 – In Italy, President Obama meets with His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican and then tours the Colosseum in Rome before departing Italy for Saudi Arabia on Friday, March 28th.

    • CR says:

      March 27, 2014

      Readout of the President’s Audience with His Holiness Pope Francis

      Excerpts of the President’s remarks on his meeting with His Holiness Pope Francis are below, from a press conference:

      Q Mr. President, in your meeting with His Holiness, Pope Francis, did he register any objections with you about the contraception coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act or your efforts to advance the rights of gays and lesbians in the United States that worry so many Catholics? And what were his concerns?

      And on Russia, with reports of troops building on the Ukrainian border, by taking the military option off the table are you sending a signal to Vladimir Putin that other parts of Ukraine are his for the taking? And why not send multinational peacekeepers to the Ukrainian border as a deterrent?

      And to you, Mr. Prime Minister, the President said yesterday that the U.S. would defend any NATO ally. Are you making that same commitment when it comes to Russia?

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: In terms of the meeting with His Holiness, Pope Francis, we had a wide-ranging discussion. I would say that the largest bulk of the time was discussing two central concerns of his. One is the issues of the poor, the marginalized, those without opportunity, and growing inequality.

      And those of us as politicians have the task of trying to come up with policies to address issues, but His Holiness has the capacity to open people’s eyes and make sure they’re seeing that this is an issue. And he’s discussed in the past I think the dangers of indifference or cynicism when it comes to our ability to reach out to those less fortunate or those locked out of opportunity.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/27/readout-president-s-audience-his-holiness-pope-francis

    • CR says:

      President Obama has a gift for Pope Francis

      3/27/14 7:23 AM EDT By TAL KOPAN – POLITICO

      President Barack Obama didn’t show up at the Vatican for his meeting with Pope Francis on Thursday empty-handed — he brought the Roman Catholic leader a gift straight from the White House garden.

      Obama presented the Pope with a custom seed chest that included seeds for fruits and vegetables used in the White House garden, according to pool reports.

      When presenting the gifts, Obama mentioned he had heard the Pope was opening up Vatican gardens to the public and explained the contents.

      “These I think are carrots,” the president said, holding a pouch, according to pool reports. “Each one has a different seed in it. The box is made from timber from the first cathedral to open in the United States, in Baltimore.”

      The chest is made from American leather and wood reclaimed from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin May, a Baltimore, Md., cathedral that was the first major metropolitan cathedral built in the U.S. after the signing of the Constitution.

      An inscription on the chest reads: “Presented to His Holiness Pope Francis by Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, March 27, 2014.”

      Along with the seeds for the Vatican gardens, Thomas Jefferson’s home Monticello in Virginia will donate produce seeds to a charity of the Pope’s choice.

      “If you have a chance to come to the White House, we can show you our garden, as well,” Obama said.

      The Pope reportedly smiled and laughed frequently during the gift exchange.

      Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/obama-pope-francis-gift-105095.html?hp=r1

    • CR says:

      March 27, 2014

      Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Renzi of Italy in Joint Press Conference

      Villa Madama
      Rome, Italy

      4:18 P.M. CET

      PRIME MINISTER RENZI: Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you so much. And obviously, thank you so much, President Obama, because for me it’s a very great pleasure to host here in Villa Madama President Obama. All Italian journalists know very well President Obama is not only the President of the United States, obviously, but for me and my team, is also an inspiration and model. And so for this reason, I have particularly appreciate this opportunity of meeting.

      Now, I speak in Italian. (As interpreted.) I wish to thank the United States government for this wonderful opportunity to meet. I wish to thank President Obama because I think that today’s dialogue not only confirms the fact that there’s a great friendship and a great partnership between our two countries, but it also confirms the fact that considering the crises that we have to face up to, the role of the United States and Europe and Italy is to be a beacon. We have to safeguard common values and ideals, so cooperation and partnership embrace important international issues and everyday issues.

      I’m happy to say that President Obama has taken a bit of time — will be taking a bit of time to visit some of our monuments and historical places here in Rome, and hopefully Ambassador John Phillips has prepared some wonderful Italian meals for him and I’m sure he’ll have a taste of the excellent quality of life in this one and a half days that he’ll be spending in our country.

      When it comes to Italian lifestyle, I think that next year’s meeting in Milan at the Expo 2015 is going to be of utmost importance. We’re talking there about food, the environment, innovation, and that, of course, is all part of our way of living, and it will be a wonderful opportunity for Italy to host countries from all over the world.

      I wish to thank the President of the United States of America for what he said yesterday in Brussels. The great challenge that’s been thrown out in the relationship between the U.S. and the European Union is a fascinating challenge. I do think that in Europe we need reforms, but we also need more growth. I think that Europe must be the place where politics will give hope back to our families.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/27/remarks-president-obama-and-prime-minister-renzi-italy-joint-press-confe

  24. CR says:

    President Obama’s European Travel Itinerary

    March 28, Friday

    President Obama and His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of His Majesty hold a bilateral meeting
    Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

    President Obama spends the night
    Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

  25. CR says:

    *******************
    THIS POST IS NOW CLOSED NBLB

    Come on over to my newest post titled: ” Committed to Passing Bipartisan Immigration Reform ″

    ********************

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