Pres Obama Travels to Vietnam & G7 Japan 2016

Japan Vietnam mapMay 10, 2016

Statement by the Press Secretary on the President’s Travel to Vietnam and Japan

The President will travel to Vietnam and Japan May 21-28, on what will be his tenth trip to Asia. This trip will highlight the President’s ongoing commitment to the U.S. Rebalance to Asia and the Pacific, designed to increase U.S. diplomatic, economic, and security engagement with the countries and peoples of the region.

The President will first visit Vietnam, where he will hold official meetings with Vietnam’s leadership to discuss ways for the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership to advance cooperation across a wide range of areas, including economic, people-to-people, security, human rights, and global and regional issues. In Hanoi, the President will deliver a speech on U.S.-Vietnam relations. During meetings and events in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the President will discuss the importance of approving the Trans-Pacific Partnership this year. The President also will meet with members of civil society, the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative, entrepreneurs, and the business community.

In Japan, the President will participate in his final G-7 Summit in Ise-Shima. This gathering will enable the G-7 leaders to advance common interests across the full range of economic and security priorities and to address pressing global challenges. The President and Prime Minister Abe will meet bilaterally to further advance the U.S.-Japan alliance, including our cooperation on economic and security issues as well as a host of global challenges. Finally, the President will make an historic visit to Hiroshima with Prime Minister Abe to highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.

G7 2016 Japan

The Group of 7 (G7) is a group consisting of the finance ministers and central bank governors of seven major advanced economies as reported by the International Monetary FundCanadaFranceGermanyItalyJapan, the United Kingdom, and the United States meeting to discuss primarily economic issues. The European Union is also represented within the G7. The G7 are the seven wealthiest major developed nations by national net wealth, representing more than 64% of the net global wealth ($263 trillion) according to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report October 2014. The IMF’s Managing Director usually participates. Recent G7 meetings include that of May 2013 in Aylesbury, United Kingdom with an emergency meeting in The Hague, Netherlands on March 24, 2014. Most recently, there was a meeting in Brussels on June 4, 2014.

The G7’s precursor was the ‘Group of Six’, founded ad hoc in 1975, consisting of finance ministers and central bank governors from FranceWest GermanyItalyJapan, the United Kingdom and the United States, when Giscard d’Estaing invited them for an “informal gathering at the chateau of Rambouillet, near Paris […] in a relaxed and private setting”.  The intent was “to discuss current world issues (dominated at the time by the oil crisis) in a frank and informal manner”.  Canada became the seventh member in 1976, after which the name ‘Group 7’ or G7 was used.  During 1986–87 the G7 with its finance ministers and central bank governors superseded the G5 as the main policy coordination group, particularly following the Louvre Accord of February 1987, agreed by the G5 plus Canada and endorsed by the G7.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G7

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G7 Summit 2016

Shima, Mie Prefecture,  Japan

On May 26 and 27, Japan will convene the G7 Ise-Shima Summit in Mie Prefecture.

In Ise-Shima, the stage for the G7 Summit, you can find not only Ise Jingu Shrine with a history dating back to time immemorial, but also marvelous natural beauty including the rich sea spreading out before your eyes, islands large and small, and countless inlets. It is a perfect example of our heartland – a place dear to many, away from the bustling cities.

Today, the international community faces numerous challenges. A slowdown in the growth of the global economy, terrorism threatening people’s lives, a surge of refugees, and unilateral changes to the status quo through the use of coercion are all among the challenges affecting the peace and prosperity we enjoy in our daily lives.

The G7 members, which share fundamental values such as freedom, democracy, the rule of law, and human rights, must take a global perspective to provide the most appropriate roadmap for solving these challenges with a clear vision.

The heads of state and government of the Group of Seven (G7) will be meeting at

Key issues they will be addressing include:

President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Vietnamese President Tran Pai Quang
Presidential Palace, Hanoi, Vietnam

President Obama attends a State Luncheon hosted by Vietnamese President Tran Pai Quang
Presidential Palace, Hanoi, Vietnam

President Obama and Vietnamese President Tran Pai Quang hold a joint press conference
Presidential Palace, Hanoi, Vietnam

President Obama meets with Vietnamese National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Nguan
International Convention Center, Hanoi, Vietnam

President Obama attends a state luncheon
International Convention Center, Hanoi, Vietnam

President Obama meets with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc
Presidential Palace, Hanoi, Vietnam

President Obama meets with U.S. Embassy Staff
JW Marriott, Hanoi, Vietnam

President Obama meets with civil society and business members
JW Marriott, Hanoi, Vietnam

President Obama delivers remarks
National Convention Center, Hanoi, Vietnam

President Obama travels to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Noibai International Airport, Hanoi, Vietnam

President Obama arrives Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tan Son Nhat Airport, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

President Obama tours the Jade Pagoda
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

President Obama tours DreamPlex
DreamPlex Coworking Space, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

President Obama participates in a Business and Entrepreneurship Event
DreamPlex Coworking Space, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

President Obama delivers remarks to the Vietnamese people
DreamPlex Coworking Space, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

President Obama meets with U.S. Consulate Staff and family members
InterContinental Asiana Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

President Obama participates in a town hall with Vietnamese youth
GEM Center, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

President Obama departs Vietnam en route for Japan
InterContinental Asiana Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

President Obama arrives Japan
Chubu Centrair International Airport,  Tokoname, Aichi, Japan

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Japan

President Obama tours the Ise-Jingu Shrine
Ise, Mie, Japan

President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Shima Kanko Hotel, Shima, Mie Prefecture,  Japan

President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold a joint press conference
Shima Kanko Hotel, Shima, Mie Prefecture,  Japan

President Obama attends a G7 welcome ceremony
Shima Kanko Hotel, Shima, Mie Prefecture,  Japan

President Obama joins other leaders in G7 session
Shima Kanko Hotel, Shima, Mie Prefecture,  Japan

President Obama joins other leaders in G7 working lunch
Shima Kanko Hotel, Shima, Mie Prefecture,  Japan

President Obama joins other leaders in G7 family photo
Shima Kanko Hotel, Shima, Mie Prefecture,  Japan

President Obama and other world leaders hold a bilateral meetings
Shima Kanko Hotel, Shima, Mie Prefecture,  Japan

President Obama holds a press conference
Shima Kanko Hotel, Shima, Mie Prefecture,  Japan

President Obama joins other leaders in G7 working dinner
Shima Kanko Hotel, Shima, Mie Prefecture,  Japan

President Obama joins other leaders in attending a cultural performance for the leaders
Shima Kanko Hotel, Shima, Mie Prefecture,  Japan

President Obama departs Shima, Mie Prefecture for Hiroshima
Chubu Centrair International Airport,  Tokoname, Aichi, Japan
President Obama arrives Hiroshima, Japan
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakune, Hiroshima, Japan

President Obama tours the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima, Japan

President Obama deliver remarks Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima, Japan

President Obama participates in a wreath laying ceremony
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima, Japan

President Obama meets with U.S. Service members
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakune, Hiroshima, Japan

President Obama departs Japan enroute for Washington DC
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakune, Hiroshima, Japan

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G7 2016
May 23–27, 2016
Shima, Mie Prefecture, Japan

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#G7

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U.S.-Nordic Leaders Summit 2016

US-Nordic

Statement by the Press Secretary on the U.S.-Nordic Leaders Summit

President Obama will host the leaders of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden at the White House for a U.S.-Nordic Leaders Summit on May 13, 2016.  This event follows the convening of Nordic leaders during the President’s trip to Sweden in September 2013.

This summit will be an opportunity to continue our close collaboration with the Nordic countries on a range of issues, including countering terrorism and violent extremism, protecting the environment, coordinating on Arctic issues, promoting the Global Health Security Agenda, advancing sustainable development, enhancing nuclear security, providing humanitarian assistance, and addressing the migration and refugee crisis in a humane and orderly way.

This summit will deepen U.S.-Nordic cooperation while highlighting America’s continued commitment to European security, trans-Atlantic trade, and the promotion of common democratic values.  The President and Mrs. Obama will host the Nordic leaders for a State Dinner on the evening of May 13.

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U.S.-Nordic Leaders Summit 2016

President Obama welcomes  His Excellency Sauli Niinistö, President of the Republic of Finland; Her Excellency Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway; His Excellency Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden; His Excellency Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark; and His Excellency Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, Prime Minister of the Republic of Iceland to the White House for a U.S.-Nordic Leaders Summit
White House

President Obama and the leaders of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden hold meetings at The U.S.-Nordic Leaders Summit
White House

President Obama the leaders of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden delivers remarks at The U.S.-Nordic Leaders Summit
White House

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host the leaders of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden at The U.S.-Nordic Leaders Summit State Dinner
White House

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May 13, 2016
President Obama hosts U.S.-Nordic Leaders Summit
White House

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#NordicUSAsummit

#StateDinner

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Nuclear Security Summit 2016

Nuclear Security Summit 2016

The United States will host the fourth Nuclear Security Summit in 2016. As President Obama remarked at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit, preparations are currently underway.

“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 moresustainable 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.

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 Goals of the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit

 There are twin goals for the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit: advancing tangible improvements in nuclear security behavior, and strengthening the global nuclear security architecture. As was the case at previous Summits, countries will announce significant nuclear security commitments and accomplishments, both through national statements or in association with multilateral Gift Baskets. Action Plans will be endorsed for five key international organizations and institutions (International Atomic Energy Agency, United Nations, INTERPOL, Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction) that will reflect the intent of Summit countries, in their roles as members of these organizations, to strengthen their contributions to nuclear security. The 2016 Summit will provide a forum and the opportunity for leaders to engage with each other and to reinforce at the highest levels our commitment to securing and eliminating nuclear materials, and preventing nuclear smuggling.

For more: http://www.nss2016.org

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THURSDAY, MARCH 31

Heads of Delegation Arrivals to the White House, Greeting by Ambassador Chief Peter Selfridge, Chief of Protocol of the United States
The White House, South Lawn

Heads of Delegation Working Dinner hosted by The Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States: Nuclear Security Threat Perceptions
East Room, The White House

Dinner hosted by The Honorable John F. Kerry, Secretary of State and The Honorable Ernest J. Moniz, Secretary of Energy
U.S. Department of State, Benjamin Franklin State Dining Room

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FRIDAY, APRIL 1

President Obama meets with members of the P5+1
Washington Convention Center, Washington DC

Opening Plenary: National Actions to Enhance Nuclear Security
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington DC

Second Plenary Session
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington DC

Third Plenary Session
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington DC

Heads of Delegation Family Photo
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington DC

Working Lunch: International and Institutional Actions to Strengthen NuclearSecurity
Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Scenario-Based Policy Discussion and Closing Remarks
Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Closing Press Briefing by The Honorable Barack Obama, President of the United States
Walter E. Washington Convention Center

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March 31-April 1, 2016
President Obama hosts Nuclear Security Summit 2016
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C

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#NSS2016

#NuclearSecuritySummit

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U.N. Security Council, U.S. & Intl Community Fight against ISIL

UN Sec Council.

What is the Security Council?

Mandate

The UN Charter established six main organs of the United Nations, including the Security Council. It gives primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security to the Security Council, which may meet whenever peace is threatened.

According to the Charter, the United Nations has four purposes:

  • to maintain international peace and security;
  • to develop friendly relations among nations;
  • to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
  • and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

All members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council. While other organs of the United Nations make recommendations to member states, only the Security Council has the power to make decisions that member states are then obligated to implement under the Charter.

Maintaining Peace and Security

When a complaint concerning a threat to peace is brought before it, the Council’s first action is usually to recommend that the parties try to reach agreement by peaceful means. The Council may:

  • set forth principles for such an agreement;
  • undertake investigation and mediation, in some cases;
  • dispatch a mission;
  • appoint special envoys; or
  • request the Secretary-General to use his good offices to achieve a pacific settlement of the dispute.

For more: http://www.un.org/en/sc/about/.

12/17/15 UN Security Council moves to cut off all funding sources for ISIL and other terrorist groups

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“… our strategy to counter ISIL has been a whole-of-government approach, including military, diplomatic, intelligence, law enforcement, as well as financial efforts to address all aspects of this very dangerous threat.

One critical piece has been our work to cut off ISIL’s financing. That is going to be a focus, as Josh noted, of the U.N. Security Council meeting tomorrow, a historic meeting, where Secretary Lew will chair a meeting of finance ministers at the U.N. I believe it’s the first time in the history of the Security Council that finance ministers have sat in the chairs around the table.

The goal of the meeting is to bolster our international efforts to get at ISIL sources of revenue, to isolate them from the international financial system, and to counter-financing of terrorism more broadly, even beyond ISIL. So, first, I want to speak briefly about the work that’s ongoing to target ISIL’s financing both within the U.S. government and with our international partners, and then I want to turn to the resolution that we expect to be introduced tomorrow.

On our ISIL efforts, of course ISIL presents an extremely challenging financial target because of its ability to extract revenues from the territory that it controls. But ISIL’s need to control territory is also a vulnerability. ISIL requires large and steady streams of income to pay salaries, procure weapons, maintain infrastructure and a semblance of government. And ISIL needs access to the international financial system. They are not entirely self-reliant. They need to be able to move money, whether that’s with respect to importing oil infrastructure, oil pieces; whether it’s with respect to procuring weapons or communications equipment, or whether it’s with respect to moving money to their off-shore affiliates.

We’ve targeted both ISIL’s ability to generate funds and its ability to use and transfer funds through the international financial system. On the revenue side, the most important pieces, of course, are military — working with coalition partners to target the entire oil supply chain, from the oil fields and wellheads, to the refineries and processing plants, to the tanker trucks themselves. And we’ve all seen the impact that that’s been having over recent weeks.

Second, in terms of accessing the international financial system, we’ve been targeting, using our sanctions tool, to get at ISIL’s key financial facilitators and their leaders and companies. We’ve designated more than 30 of their senior leaders and financiers this year alone. We’re working through international forums, like the Counter-ISIL Finance Group, which is co-chaired by Saudi Arabia, Italy and the United States. It includes more than 30 jurisdictions worldwide, and it’s a platform for us to be sharing information, both targeted and more systemic, about ISIL’s revenue streams and flows, and then work together to collaborate to cut them off.

And we’re working, of course, very intensively with our regional partners. In Iraq, we saw the central government cut off over 90 bank branches that were in ISIL-controlled territory from the Central Bank, and therefore from access to any international financial platform. And we’ve also worked with the governments in Jordan, the governments in Turkey to intensify the scrutiny and the oversight of less formal financial channels, like money service businesses and exchange houses, which we believe ISIL is using to smuggle cash to and then place them in order to move the funds. All of this work will only intensify in the coming months.

Let me now turn to the upcoming U.N. Security Council meeting that, as I said, will take place in New York tomorrow. We expect that the Security Council will be adopting a new resolution to focus its longstanding al Qaeda sanctions regime equally on the threat posed by ISIL. As a word of background, the al Qaeda sanctions regime has been the principal U.N. sanctions tool to direct asset freezes against terror groups. And what we’ll be doing is elevating ISIL, putting it on that same level, and turning those tools and that same experience that we’ve built up internationally against ISIL.

The resolution will add a designation prong, making it a sanctionable offense as it were to associate with ISIL, and giving us more flexibility to go after those who are helping ISIL, whether to move funds, to store funds, or to earn funds. The resolution will also include a number of new broader measures to strengthen our international efforts against terror groups across the board. Specifically, we’ll be calling on all countries to fully criminalize the financing of terrorism and terrorist fighters for any purpose, even in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act.

And further, we’re going to be calling on countries to expand and intensify information-sharing, both across governments, within governments, and with the private sector. That last piece may sound mundane, but I can tell you, having worked in the counterterrorist financing arena basically since 2002, that’s where the rubber meets the road. It’s about when banks see a suspicious transaction, are they flagging that for financial authorities. And if they are, and that system is working well, is that information then accessible to law enforcement, and can it married with travel data, can it be married with intelligence data so that we can have the best possible chance of disrupting the next attack.”

12/16/15 Adam Szubin – Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), White House Press Briefing.

US & Intl Community_defeating_isil_abroad.jpg

US Leads 65 Partners to destroy ISIL terrorists

President Obama has a strategy to defeat ISIL, fight terrorism, and protect the homeland

The President is pursuing a comprehensive strategy that draws on every aspect of American power. Here’s an up-to-date look at what we’re doing to combat the threat of terrorism abroad and here at home:

Relentlessly Pursuing ISIL’s Leadership and Shrinking ISIL’s Safehavens

Since the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, the United States, along with our 65 partners in the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, have intensified our efforts to degrade and destroy ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

Here are some of the actions we’ve taken:

For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/isil-strategy

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2015 G20 Leader’s Summit – Anatalya, Turkey

G20 Turkey 2015

The Group of Twenty (G20) is the premier forum for its members’ international economic cooperation and decision-making. Its membership comprises 19 countries plus the European Union. Each G20 president invites several guest countries each year.

G20 leaders meet annually. In addition, Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meet regularly during the year to discuss ways to strengthen the global economy, reform international financial institutions, improve financial regulation and implement the key economic reforms that are needed in each member economy. Underpinning these meetings is a year-long program of meetings among senior officials and of working groups coordinating policy on specific issues.

The G20 started in 1999 as a meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis. In 2008, the first G20 Leaders’ Summit was held, and the group played a key role in responding to the global financial crisis. Its decisive and coordinated actions boosted consumer and business confidence and supported the first stages of economic recovery. G20 leaders have met eight times since 2008.

The G20 is an apt model for global cooperation in today’s world. Its response to the global financial crisis is a testament to the impact G20 members can make when working together. The G20 introduced trillions of dollars in fiscal stimulus packages worldwide, which saved or created millions of jobs that would otherwise have been destroyed. It also put in place measures to limit the collapse of financial markets and helped maintain consumer and business confidence.

For more: https://g20.org/about-g20/

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G20 Turkey - family photo

President Obama’s Travel Itinerary

Sunday, November 15th

President Obama arrives in Turkey
Antalya International Airport

President Obama and Turkey President Erdogan hold a bilateral meeting
Regnum Carya Resort, Istanbul, Turkey

President Obama attends a G20 Welcome Ceremony
Regnum Carya Resort, Anatalya, Turkey

President Obama takes an official G20 family photo
Regnum Carya Resort, Anatalya, Turkey

President Obama participates in a G-20 Leaders working lunch session on development and climate change
Regnum Carya Resort, Anatolia, Turkey

President Obama participates in a G-20 Leaders session on global economy focusing on growth strategies and employment
Regnum Carya Resort, Anatolia, Turkey

President Obama participates in a G20 working dinner
Regnum Carya Resort, Antalya, Turkey

President Obama overnights in Anatalya
Regnum Carya Resort, Anatalya, Turkey

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Monday, November 16th

President Obama participates in a G20 session on resilience in financial institutions, international tax, anti-orruption and IMF reform
Regnum Carya Resort, Anatolia, Turkey

President Obama participates in a G20 working lunch on trade, energy and the adoption of the communiquė
Regnum Carya Resort, Anatolia, Turkey

President Obama holds bilateral meetings with British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
Regnum Carya Resort, Anatolia, Turkey

President Obama holds a Press Conference
Regnum Carya Resort, Anatolia, Turkey

President Obama departs Turkey en route to the Philippines

10th G20

November 15 – 16, 2015
Regnum Carya Resort, Anatalya, Turkey

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G20 Facebook
G20 Twitter
G20 Instagram
G20 YouTube

Live Stream:

#G20

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Jean Jullien - Peace for Paris
Jean Jullien – Peace for Paris

Pres Obama to veto $612 billion defense policy bill H.R. 1735

Obama to veto $612 billion defense policy bill over budget dispute with GOP-led Congress

OCTOBER 21, 2015 — 6:30PM Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The White House says President Barack Obama will veto a sweeping $612 billion defense policy bill, citing objections over how the measure is funded.

Obama will veto the bill Thursday afternoon in the Oval Office.

Obama also disapproves of provisions in the bill that would complicate his pledge to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

It’s the first time Obama has rejected the measure. Presidents have signed the bipartisan bill into law annually for more than 50 years.

The move will force Congress to revise the bill or try to settle a larger budget dispute that led Obama to veto it.

The bill would increase defense spending by adding $38 billion to a separate war-fighting account. The White House says that’s a “funding gimmick.”

Presidential veto

Press Briefing by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest

October 15, 2015  Excerpts:

Question by  Mark from the Press Corps:

Where do things stand on the defense authorization bill?” 

Answer by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest:

The last I heard is that the White House had not yet received the defense authorization bill.  But the President’s intention to veto that legislation still stands, primarily because the bill includes this slush fund tactic that’s an irresponsible way to fund our most basic national security priorities.  And, again, slush fund is not just the appropriate word that I’ve used but that’s actually the description that some Republicans have used for this tactic.

There are also concerns in that legislation about the obstacles to closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay that are included once again in the NDAA bill.  I’ll just point out that based on the vote in the House of Representatives, that there is sufficient support for the President’s position in the House to sustain his veto.  And that’s not something we’ve seen in the past, but it is something that we see this time.

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History on The Closing of Guantánamo Bay Naval Base

In January 2009, President Obama signed executive orders directing the CIA to shut what remains of its network of “secret” prisons and ordering the closing of the Guantánamo detention camp within a year. However, he postponed difficult decisions on the details for at least six months. On 7 March 2011, President Obama issued an executive order that permits ongoing indefinite detention of Guantánamo detainees. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 would have authorized indefinite detention of suspected terrorists, but enforcement of the relevant section was blocked by a federal court ruling in the case of Hedges v. Obama on 16 May 2012, a suit brought by a number of private citizens, including Chris HedgesDaniel EllsbergNoam Chomsky, and Birgitta Jónsdóttir. The government sidestepped the ruling, however, saying “The government construes this Court’s Order as applying only as to the named plaintiffs in this suit.” [President Obama said in his 2014 State of the Union Speech: “this needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay“].  As of September 2015, the U.S. government has yet to close the detention camp.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guantanamo_Bay_Naval_Base#Detention_camp

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Remarks by the President at Veto Signing of National Defense Authorization Act

Oval Office

3:52 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  As President and Commander-in-Chief, my first and most important responsibility is keeping the American people safe.  And that means that we make sure that our military is properly funded, and that our men and women in uniform get the support, the equipment, the support for their families that they need and deserve when they protect our freedom and our safety.

The bill that has been presented to me authorizing our defense — excuse me — the bill that’s before me, authorizing our defense spending for this year, does a number of good things.  It makes sure that our military is funded.  It has some important provisions around reform for our military retirement system, which is necessary to make sure that it is stable and effective.  It’s got some cybersecurity provisions that are necessary for an increasing threat.

Unfortunately, it falls woefully short in three areas.  Number one, it keeps in place the sequester that is inadequate for us to properly fund our military in a stable, sustained way and allows all of our armed forces to plan properly.  I have repeatedly called on Congress to eliminate the sequester and make sure that we’re providing certainty to our military so they can do out-year planning, ensure military readiness, ensure our troops are getting what they need.  This bill instead resorts to gimmicks that does not allow the Pentagon to do what it needs to do.

Number two, unfortunately it prevents a wide range of reforms that are necessary for us to get our military modernized and able to deal with the many threats that are presenting themselves in the 21st century.  We have repeatedly put forward a series of reforms eliminating programs that the Pentagon does not want — Congress keeps on stepping back in, and we end up wasting money.  We end up diverting resources from things that we do need to have the kind of equipment and training and readiness that are necessary for us to meet all potential threats.

And the third thing is that this legislation specifically impeded our ability to close Guantanamo in a way that I have repeatedly argued is counterproductive to our efforts to defeat terrorism around the world.  Guantanamo is one of the premiere mechanisms for jihadists to recruit.  It’s time for us to close it.  It is outdated; it’s expensive; it’s been there for years. And we can do better in terms of keeping our people safe while making sure that we are consistent with our values.

So I’m going to be vetoing this authorization bill.  I’m going to be sending it back to Congress.  And my message to them is very simple:  Let’s do this right.  We’re in the midst of budget discussions — let’s have a budget that properly funds our national security as well as economic security.  Let’s make sure that we’re able, in a constructive way, to reform our military spending to make it sustainable over the long term, and let’s make sure that, in a responsible way, we can draw down the populations in Guantanamo, make sure that the American people are safe, and make sure that we’re not providing the kinds of recruitment tools to terrorists that are so dangerous.

END
3:57 P.M. EDT

October 22, 2015
President Obama vetoes a major defense policy bill H.R. 1735
Oval Office

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United Nations General Assembly 70th Session

United States President Barack Obama chairs a United Nations Security Council meeting at U.N. Headquarters in New York, N.Y., Sept. 24, 2009.
United States President Barack Obama chairs a United Nations Security Council meeting at U.N. Headquarters in New York, N.Y., Sept. 24, 2009.

The General Assembly (GA) is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN. Decisions on important questions, such as those on peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters, require a two-thirds majority. Decisions on other questions are by simple majority. Each country has one vote.  Some Member States in arrear of payment may be granted the right to vote.  See the list of countries in arrears in the payment of their financial contributions. The Assembly has adopted its own rules of procedure and elects its President for each session.

Functions and powers of the General Assembly

Forum for multilateral negotiation

Established in 1945 under the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly occupies a central position as the chief deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations. Comprising all 193 Members of the United Nations, it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter.

It also plays a significant role in the process of standard-setting and the codification of international law. The Assembly meets in regular session intensively from September to December each year, and thereafter as required.

For more: http://www.un.org/en/ga/about/background.shtml

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18 SEPTEMBER 2015
GA/11685

General Assembly, Adopting Work Programme for Session, Discusses New Items, Endorses General Debate Schedule of 28 September to 3 October

Seventieth Session,

2nd Meeting (AM)

Acting on the recommendations of its General Committee, the General Assembly this morning adopted the work programme and agenda for its seventieth session, which contained 173 items, and endorsed the recommendation that its general debate would be held from 28 September to 3 October.

That information, and other organizational matters concerning the Assembly, is contained in the General Committee’s first report (document A/70/250).

Among the topics to be considered in the current Assembly session were several new ones, including follow-up to the outcome document of the high-level plenary meeting — the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples; joint ad-hoc meeting of the First (Disarmament and International Security) and Fourth Committees (Special Political and Decolonization) on possible challenges to space security and sustainability; and global awareness of the tragedies of irregular migrants in the Mediterranean Basin with specific emphasis on Syrian asylum seekers.

Agenda of the 70th regular session

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Monday, 28 September 2015

All indicated times are New York time (GMT-4)

09:00 am
Press Conferences and Media Opportunities – Updated list:
http://bit.ly/1ubmbnM
General Assembly: 12th and 13th plenary meetings – General Debate (28 September – 3 October 2015).
10:00 am
High-Level Side Sessions on Achieving SDG2: National Strategies for Farmer Empowerment and Inclusive Business and Regional Food Security Strategy and Public-Private Partnerships.
01:15 pm
Innovative financing: showcasing solutions to implement the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
03:00 pm
Leaders’ Summit on Peace Operations.
Linking Landlocked Developing Countries to Global Opportunities.
04:00 pm
Oceans 14: Implementing the Samoa Pathway and Sustainable Development Goal 14 by the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) through Public-Private Partnerships.
High level event of the leading group on social and solidarity economy.
04:30 pm
Somalia High Level Event (Opening remarks only).
06:30 pm
Implementing the New Development Framework in Countries Affected by Conflict and Fragility.

PBO @ UN General Assembly - lrg

.President Obama’s New York Itinerary 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

President Obama departs White House
South Lawn

President Obama arrives New York
John F. Kennedy International Airport

President Obama delivers remarks at the Closing Session: Post-2015 Development Agenda
U.N. Headquarters, General Assembly Hall, New York, NY

President Obama participates in a USUN Mission meet and greet with employees and their families
U.S. Mission to the United Nations, U.N. Headquarters, New York, NY

President Obama delivers remarks at a DNC LGBT Gala
Gotham Hall, New York, NY

President Obama overnights in New York

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Monday, September 28, 2015

President Obama speaks at the Opening Session of the 70th United Nations General Assembly
U.N. Headquarters, New York, NY

President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
U.N. Headquarters, General Assembly Hall, New York, NY

President Obama meets with Sam Kutesa, President of the United Nations General Assembly
U.N. Headquarters, New York, NY

President Obama meets with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
U.N. Headquarters, New York, NY

President Obama attends a luncheon hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
U.N. Headquarters, New York, NY

President Obama chairs a United Nations Peacekeeping Summit
U.N. Headquarters, New York, NY

President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin
U.N. Headquarters, New York, NY

President Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama hosts a reception for visiting Heads of State and Government
Lotte New York Palace, New York City

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

President Obama speaks at the Leaders’ Summit on Countering ISIL and Violent Extremism
U.N. Headquarters, New York, NY

President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro
U.N. Headquarters, New York, NY

President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Kazakhstian President Nursultan Nazarbayev
U.N. Headquarters, New York, NY

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70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
Presiding Chair: President Obama
U.N. Headquarters, New York, N.Y

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Live Stream: http://webtv.un.org/

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#UNGA70

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