tv Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc Connell News Conference CSPAN January 15, 2016 6:07am-6:19am EST
i said to my staff at the state department, engaged in the syria conflict at the end of last year, you know, i'm tired of going out and bragging that we're the biggest donor to refugee needs, write a check, help the refugees. that can go on endlessly. we keep writing checks, we can set up a new camp. the question is, can we make peace and end this endless supply of refugees? in the past 4 1/2 years, one syrian in 20 has been killed or wounded. one in five is a refugee. one in two has been displaced. and the reality is there will be no end to this crisis, no end to the pressures on on lebanon, on jordan, on turkey, no end to the flow of people to greece and bulgaria and to germany and
europe, no end to this crisis, unless there is an end to the conflict itself. one person stands in the way of that. and that is bashar al-assad. that is why the third pillar of our strategy is to de-escalate the conflict in syria. and that can only happen through a political transition. every leader i've met with says to me, there's no military solution, you have to have a political solution. i mean, you can, you know, i suppose you can sit there and make the argument there's military solutions and you can wind up like the roman historian who wrote of carthage. they made a desert and called it peace. sure. but if you want to hold the country together, if you want to restore the secular, united syria that once was, if you want to bring people together in a
that allows sunni and shi'a and others and christians, all to live together, then you need a political transition and you need a political settlement. last november in vienna, the united states and other members of the international syria support group finally agreed upon a series of specific steps to stop the bleeding in syria. to advance the political transition, to isolate the terrorists. and to help the syrian people begin to rebuild their country. i can't stand here before you today and tell you that it's going to work. i know how it could. but it's going to require the cooperation of countries in conflict. it was monumental that we were able to bring saudi arabia and iran to the table together in order to join in this. and it is important that both have said they will not allow their current differences to stand in the way of working towards a settlement. in december, we and the other
members of the united nations security council passed a resolution endorsing the work of the vienna support group, the international syria support group, bringing the full weight of the global community behind this process. so for the first time, every one of the major international players has come around a table together with a specific timetable for negotiations between the responsible opposition and syria's government and because of the hard work of all of those parties, those talks are now slated to begin later this month on january 25. it will be difficult, it will require good faith effort by russia, iran, by all the players, to push for the implementation of the geneva communique, which calls for a transition, unity government. but it is not to be missed by anybody here that even iran put forward an important contribution to the dialogue in
a peace plan that called for a unity government, constitutional reform a ceasefire, and an , election. and that is part of what has been embraced by the vienna support group. so obstacles to peace always remain. there's always an obstacle to peace. look at the frozen conflicts we have in the world. but the need for settlement is the more progress we make it easier it will be to make a unified effort against daesh/ h. out theret if people with mel intend that can fill the vacuum.
in addition to our efforts in syria and iraq, another major priority for the coming year involves iran and the information of the joint competence of line of action that we agreed on last summer in vienna. the jcp 08 as it is called is a all ofnt for blocking iran's potential pathways to a nuclear weapon. , iran is now well on its way to dismantling critical elements of its nuclear facilities. just yesterday the foreign minister reported to me that the plutonium reactor is out and in the next hours it will be filled with concrete. and destroyed. all of their enriched material has been put on a ship and taken out and gone to russia for processing. that shipment that was taken out
more than tripled our previous timeline of two to three months for iran to be able to acquire enough reckons -- weapons grade uranium for one weapon and it is an important part of the technical equation that will bring their breakout to at least one year for the next 10 years. meantime, the iaea will build up its capacity to inspect and know what iran is doing and for 25 years will be tracking every bit of uranium that is processed from the mind to the mill to the gas to the yellowcake to the centrifuge and the waste. and for the lifetime of this agreement, iran is subject to the additional protocol, which means that where there is a suspicion of some activity that is in contravention of the nonproliferation treaty, we will have the right to inspect. i can assure you we will continue to monitor
implementation of this agreement closely, because, challenges arel at stake here. and we will ensure that the specter of a nuclear armed iran is removed as a threat to the middle east security and global peace, and it is not insignificant that iran has agreed to submit to this. agreed to undertake these steps. agreed that it will not build this weapon. implementation day, which is the day on which iran proves that it has sufficiently downsized its nuclear program and can begin to receive sanctions relief, is going to take place very soon. likely within the next coming days somewhere. and when that happens, we are convinced it will make us and our partners around the world more safe and secure.
now, any agreement only works if it's fully implemented. and that takes me to our next priority for 2016, which is building on the momentum that was generated last month in paris, when nearly 200 nations, 186, to be precise, 195 were there, but 186 submitted plans for the reduction of emissions on a global basis. so, nearly 200 nations came together to reach an historic agreement on climate change. and this agreement was made possible by unprecedented collaboration on climate issues between the united states and china. which began an initiative by president obama that we would engage with china in order to bring china in, instead of leaving it outside, as it has
been in most of the meetings previously that we have had on climate change. and together china and the united states stood up and announced well in advance of paris what our goals would be with respect to our reductions and urged every nation to announce its own targets for reducing carb emissions -- carbon emissions. you heard the president last night say, if you don't get this by now, if you're going to argue the other side of this case, that it's not happening, or you want to be in denial, you're going to be very, very lonely. that's what the president said. because our military, our experts, our scientists, people all around the world can see with their own eyes and are experiencing the impact of climate change. this plan coming out of paris is designed to keep pace with technology and to get stronger as time goes by. the agreement sends an unmistakable message to governments and to the private sector alike.
that's the power of this agreement. none of us went to paris with the belief, we're going to get the two degrees centigrade hold that is necessary to prevent a tipping point. we understood that. but what we also understood was that if you have 200 nations all coming up with a plan, all agreeing to reduce, all moving toward alternative, renewable, you know, clean energy, the message to the marketplace at large is unmistakable. the message of paris is that the time is now to undertake a permanent transition, to a new and low-carben energy future for the world. and i can tell you from the evidence that i see, this message is being heard around integrated into policies by prime ministers, governors, mayors, all around the world. by energy corporations and investors, by innovators and entrepreneurs, and by consumers
and civil society. and we have to now stay vigilant to keep the pressure on here in the united states and around the world, to formally adopt the agreement, take the bold and innovative steps, and transition to cleaner energy sources. and to pursue every opportunity we can, to cut carbon pollution, including by amending the montreal protocol to take on hydrofloral carbons. now, the momentum is with us. and it's with us because the world is finally coming to understand that not only is curbing climate change essential to our environment and our health, not only is it essential to our security, which is something th