tv President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel Joint News Conference CSPAN April 25, 2016 12:37am-1:27am EDT
information to the government, but only after they have sanitized it. watch "the communicators" sunday night at 8:00 p.m. et on c-span2. >> president obama is currently overseas for a multi-day trip that has included stops in the united states and the united kingdom. two spoke about u.s. german relations and answered questions on trade, defense, and the syrian refugee crisis. this is 50 minutes. >> ladies and gentlemen, i would like to bid a warm welcome to the president of the united states of america come a barack germany for his
fifth visit to hanover. let me tell you that i am delighted to have an opportunity, not only to continue our talks but to have -- today will be a remarkable day because we will open the hanover affair and this year the united states will be part of the country. these are troubling times we would both agree and we have an opportunity to talk about the whole spectrum of international issues. we don't need to spend too much time on this, but let me tell muchbarack, that i very talks thatd, open are always based on mutual trust and we talk about the whole range of issues and reduce of that we have hope and
trust and we will continue to do so. we used this opportunity here to talk about a broad spectrum of international issues, for terrorism,mbating and also the peace process, but also questions related to the migration in general. uniony ways, the european is a target or a destination for those refugees that do not enjoy peace and freedom at home. so we together support the political process that has to be brought forward. we support the geneva talks and i'm greatly concerned that the cease-fire did not hold or hasn't held over these past few days. there were outbreaks of fights
in aleppo and other places. i was able to see yesterday what this means by means of suffering distress of one's people when there is fighting in their home area, so we want to do everything in order to bring the geneva talks. we also talked about libya, because syria is going to be very important to support of the unity government. this is an entanglement on the one hand of stability and the progress that we have with this new unity government to stabilize the situation, but also when we look at syria for example, there are enormous migratory flows across the aegean sea that are triggered by a hundred developments there. i am very grateful that the united states of america are supporting the nato mission. this in many ways is also a joint european-american effort, a transatlantic mission. we can say that all of our
security issues on the doorstep of europe can only be tackled by joint transatlantic efforts. only in this way can our common security be insured. this also means that a european agreement as necessary, a german agreement is necessary in many of these issues, and i think germany has demonstrated that we are willing to make this effort to go the extra mile. be it in iraq fighting terrorism, be it, for example, in
the way that we have become engaged in mali. we talked about afghanistan and afghanistan, too, needs to be kept on a track which is promising for the afghani people. we are ready and willing to be voluntarily engaged and continue to be militarily engaged. we are grateful for the united states of america for the responsibility you continue to show. i think the message that the taliban needs to be the international community will not leave afghanistan and this current predicament. we also talk about an issue that we are also interested in is the crisis in ukraine. we have the greatest importance to this agreement being implemented as soon as possible. we will put a lot of effort into
making this possible in our talks with ukraine, but also in our talks with russia. unfortunately we still do not have a stable cease-fire. we need to bring the political process forward. tonight, economic issues will loom large on the agenda. from a european perspective, let me say this clearly, it is very helpful in order to allow our economy to grow. it is important for the german economy, it is important for the whole of the european economy. if i look at the progress that we had made with the tpp, i think we all have an interest in continuing to support these negotiations. we should do our bit to make this a success. thank you very much. again, for this visit. i'm very much looking forward to the other things that are lining up for today and tomorrow. i would like to welcome you on behalf of the german citizens. and on behalf of the citizens of hanover.
president obama: let me see thank you for chancellor merkel for your welcome. it is wonderful to be back in germany. i believe i'm the first u.s. president to visit and spend time here in hanover. it is always a great pleasure to be back with my friend and partner angela. i have value chancellor merkel's thinking and perspective on a whole range of global issues throughout our presidency. you have been a trusted partner, throughout my entire presidency. longer than any world leader, and i value your judgment, i thank you for your commitment to our alliance, and the values to which we stand. and i am grateful for our personal friendship. i am here for the trade show.
angela and i will join the opening ceremonies this evening and visit some exhibitions tomorrow. it is a reminder that the united states and germany are among each other's largest trading partners. it is a relationship we have to keep building and nurturing. so that we are crating more jobs and more prosperity for our people and keeping our country's competitive in the global economy. in that regard, angela and i agree that the united states and the european union need to continue to move forward with the transatlantic partnership. in our bilateral meeting, we discussed the importance of boosting economic growth in the euro zone, which is critical for the global economy, including the u.s. economy. strong growth in europe is particularly important given the array of pressing challenges
whether it is security, defense, migration, or refugees. i should add, by the way, that given the urgency of climate change, and the economic opportunities of clean energy, both of our nations have signed the paris climate change agreement and we believe it needs to be implemented quickly. of course most of our discussion as chancellor merkel indicated focused on security challenges. germany is a vital member of the coalition to destroy isil. german aircraft support in the campaign and german assistance is helping iraq stabilize areas it liberates from isil. the coalition continues to make progress. germany is obviously a strong partner in international efforts to provide humanitarian relief to the people of syria and iraq. we remain deeply concerned about the upsurge in fighting in syria
over the last several days and we continue to believe that the only real durable solution is a political solution that moves syria towards an inclusive government that represents all syrians. given the horrific attacks that we have seen around the world, including paris, brussels, istanbul, san bernardino, and on a much more frequent basis, attacks and horrific violence that is taking place in the middle east. we discussed the importance of maintaining our strong security cooperation. in afghanistan, we will continue to help strengthen afghan forces as they push back against al qaeda, the taliban, and isil. we will continue to support the libyan people and the new libyan government.
we agree that the united states and germany are going to remain counterterrorism partners and we are going to continue to use all the tools at our disposal to prevent terrorists from traveling and plotting attacks. that includes improved information sharing between our countries and within europe. and as always, we will do so while upholding our values and civil liberties including the privacy of citizens here and in the united states. i want to once again commend angela for her leadership as germany response to migrants who are desperately fleeing conflicts in the region. perhaps because she once lived behind a wall herself, she understands the aspirations of those who have been denied their freedom and who seek a better life. i know the politics around this issue can be difficult in all of our countries. we did discuss the eu's recent
agreement with turkey, and angela and i agree that we can respond to the situation in a way that is both humane and ensures our security. we discussed the importance of keeping the alliance strong for our collective defense. we continue to augment on a rotational basis nato forces in eastern europe including the baltic states. as i have said from the very beginning of my presidency, we have a treaty obligation to defend every nato ally and we will. beyond the alliance, we welcome the formation of a new government in ukraine, which we encourage to take its political, economic, and energy reforms that could deliver progress to the ukrainian people. chancellor merkel and the ukrainian president have been tireless in seeking a solution in ukraine. all sides need to uphold the commitments they have made, and that sanctions in russia can and should only be lifted should
russia comply. tomorrow, chancellor merkel will host their meetings with prime minister cameron as we discussed the full range of challenges we faced together. chancellor merkel. >> the first question will come from roberto renton with "reuters." >> thank you. president obama, you have made the case many times that
ttip and tpp with asia are modern trade agreements that deal with problems that arose with earlier deals, but that message does not seem to have resonated. the deals are very unpopular at home and there are huge protest here yesterday. it is a huge presidential election issue. what is your plan to realistically advance the deals? is it realistic to say you want to get t-tip done by the end of the year? and at this point will tpp have to wait for congressional approval? until the lame duck session at the earliest. and chancellor merkel, you said yesterday in turkey that you favor the creation of a type of safe zone in syria. president obama had said in the past that he opposes these types of zones because while they are well-intentioned, they would require military force to protect the safety of the people. i'm wondering whether you are going to try to convince
president obama to rethink his position on these types of safe zones and how you would see them working in terms of enforcing safety on the ground? thank you. president obama: with respect to trade, i think what you are seeing around the world is people are unsettled by globalization. and although trade has brought enormous benefits to many of our countries that have been engaged in trade, although typically jobs that are produced from exports have higher wages and better benefits than those that are not involved with the export market,
people visibly see a plan moving and jobs lost and the narrative develops that this is weakening rather than strengthening the position of ordinary people and ordinary workers. and it is forcing them to compete with low-wage labor. and that, i think, is what drives a lot of suspicion, understandably of these trade deals. the benefits often times are diffuse, whereas a particular plant or business feels they have been hurt by outside competition. they feel it very acutely. but if you look at the benefits to the united states or to germany of free-trade around the world, it is indisputable that
it has made our economy stronger. it has made sure that our businesses are the most competitive in the world. and as you see other markets like china beginning to develop, and asia beginning to develop, and africa growing fast, we have to make sure that our businesses can compete there. because at least in the united states, 95% of the world's markets are outside of our borders. and if we are not there, present, we are going to have problems. now the relationship between europe and the united states is already one of the most robust trading relationships in the world, but what we've discovered is that while strengthening labor provisions and strengthening environmental provisions and standards, we can also eliminate a lot of regulatory and bureaucratic irritants and blockages to trade that would allow us to engage in even more trade. so more goods, create more jobs, and create more prosperity.
now with respect to the politics of it, recent surveys in the united states for example, showed that the majority of people still favor trade. they still recognizable on balance that it is a good idea. during presidential elections, it is always tough. when we are in the heat of campaigns, people naturally are going to worry more about what is lost than what is gained with respect to trade agreements. but i am confident that we are going to be able to get this done. keep in mind people didn't think with the transpacific partnership that we would be able to get the authority to move it forward. and we got it done. people didn't think we would be able to negotiate with 11 countries in the asia pacific and have a deal that in fact the strengthen labor, and the strengthen environment of provisions, and yet we got it done. i think the same is going to be true here. i don't anticipate that we will
be able to have completed ratification of a deal by the end of the year, but i do anticipate that we can have completed the agreement. and then it will be presented to our various legislatures, our various parliaments, but at that point we will have the negotiations completed and people will be able to see exactly what this would be good for our two countries. and with respect to congress, and transpacific partnership, i think after the primary season is over, the politics settle down a little bit and congress and will be in a position to start moving forward. because i know that we have had a majority of members in the past who were in favor of this deal. otherwise you would not have gotten the authority for me to go ahead and fast-track this agreement. but i think we all know that elections can sometimes make things a little more challenging. and people take positions in part to protect themselves from attacks during the course of
election season. one thing i do want to say with respect to syria, we all care deeply about the tragic humanitarian crisis inside of syria. i live with this every day, i read about this thisevery day, we talk to people who are experiencing suffering or are witnessing the suffering going on there. we are in constant communications with turkey, our nato ally, in finding ways which we can resolve the situation. as you know, i spoke to president putin early last week to try to make sure that we could reinstate our facilities and make sure that the political process does not unwind. having said all that, the issues of having a safezone is not a matter of an ideological objection on my part, it is not a matter of me not wishing i could help and protect a whole bunch of people. it is a very practical issue
about how do you do it, and who is going to put a bunch of ground troops inside of syria, and how do you let people in, and who do you let in and who do let out. and how is it monitored? the truth of the matter is, that when i go through with my defense department, and we have done it multiple times, how a proposal like that might work as a practical matter, sadly, it is very difficult to see how it would operate short of us essentially being willing to militarily take over a big chunk of that country. and that requires a big military commitment, and i think that one of the biggest challenges that angela and i both face is that we often see great wrongs going
on around the world and we do everything we can to try to right them, but one of the things i have learned as president is that we have to make sure that whatever it is that we say we are going to do, we can deliver. and creating a situation in which we could actually protect all of the people inside of syria, the best bet for doing that is to get this political process on track, a transition on track, so that all the parties can safely lay down their arms. increase the kind of inclusive government that seriously desperately needs. >> i think that if you follow closely my remarks yesterday in turkey, you will be able to understand that this is
something that i think it's to come out of this geneva process. it is not something that can be called a safezone in a traditional way. but only talk about a cease-fire, it is not about influencing from the outside. we have tens of thousands of refugees along the turkish and syrian border. we hope to send a message to them. there are other regions also were some might think that the cease-fire as a whole needs to be put in place, but these are areas where there are a particular obligation upon the different parties. needs to be part of the geneva
process and not something that comes out of the blue. >> madame chancellor, mr. president, this could be your last joined visit or appearance in germany. what were your best experiences and what were your worst? and madame chancellor, the united states actually once germany to do more in regard to military presence within nato. are you ready to increase for example soldiers and the contingent? and should the united states not help more by observing for example more than 10,000 refugees from syria this year? chancellor merkel: we have the impression that we are actually quite busy with the conflict that we are about to solve in the world today. we have new chats all the time, so i'm not in position to draw stock now. what you see is testimony to close partnership and friendship based on mutual trust. i'm very grateful for this, because it helps us to solve
international issues. germany in many instances has been, more active partner in this relationship because we are also certain our very own security cannot be ensured on our own. we have to do this in alliance. on some areas, we have shouldered a long-term mission that we're going to continue like in afghanistan for example. in a way we have had a change of paradigm that we have now seen the challeng of isis as something that is acute. if we need to suffer again and war, we should have other opportunities to meet the president and i. let me say for me, the future with the president is much more important that may pass right now. we know that we obviously have to make additional efforts as regards to possibilities to defend ourselves, we have to put
in more equipment, more personnel, we know the target set nato has submitted to us. we think that the whole positioning of our federal forces respectfully dissents that we need to shoulder of this international responsibility. i think that helps. it helps us to challenge -- to master our challenges and the cooperation with the united states is indispensable. looking at the larger neighborhood of europe, transatlantic cooperation within nato, but also in our their firms is absolutely essential for maintaining our own security
would carve out areas, but because the opposition is a signatory, the regime agrees not to attack those areas. and she is exactly right. here there isbetween us. that if we can get the political transition to separate out areas where a moderate opposition at the table controls it, that should be a safe area. if it is isil, that is not a safe area.
that is the concept that we have been trying to build. it has been framed in part because the syrian regime has been cheating. in part because there are areas where moderate opposition forces both reside and it has been difficult to separate them geographically. but that concept of ultimately bringing some safety and security within the country is entirely consistent with what we are trying to do in our negotiations. with respect to the u.s.-german relationship and i relationship a chancellor merkel, i've said this before, i will repeat, this is as important of a relationship i have had during the course of my presidency. chancellor merkel has been consistent, she is been steady, she is trustworthy, she has a really good sense of humor that she doesn't show all the time at press conferences.
she is much more serious in front of all of you. and which probably serves her well. that is why she has been such a long-lasting leader, because she watches what she says. but if you think about the first time i came here, we were in the midst of a potential collapse of the global economy. and i believe that it was in large part because of our joint leadership, because of europe and the united states and other partners around the world coming together and having a clear vision that we were able to stabilize the global financial system. and our two countries now have
been able to grow steadily and reduce unemployment. and recovered much better than a number of other countries around the world. when you think about the courts, that does not happen unless there is strong u.s. german cooperation. and making sure that we are resting the pace of climate change is as important as any issue we will face in the decades to come. making sure that we are able to prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon without resort to war, that occurred because of the partnership. and the leadership that angela and others have shown. in afghanistan, german troops have been vital interest assisting afghans to defend
their country. in ukraine, the normandy process i think, it is fair to say works in part because the united states stand shoulder to shoulder to draw a very firm line about the basic principles of territorial integrity and sovereignty. so there is not an issue in which we have worked together where i have not been hugely appreciative of agela's study leadership and trustworthiness. and as she noted, although it is true that i will be saying
goodbye from his current position in around nine months, a lot happens in that month. everybody kept on saying to me originally that somehow things with lowdown -- would slow down in the second half of my last term, and it has not happened yet. i seem to be pretty busy and i look forward in addressing many of the challenges that we face, including those that we will discuss at nato, those that we will discuss at the g7, those that we will discuss at the g20, to know that i have a strong partner in angela merkel. i think it is true that chancellor merkel's leadership, germany has been more forward leaning on a whole variety of areas. i do continue to maintain and i will say this leading up to the nato conference and beyond that given the pressures both from the south and the aggressive posture and enormous spending that we are seeing out of russia, it is important for all
of our nato members to try to hit the target that we set in wales, of 2% defense spending so that everyone is able to maintain the kind of defense capacity in part to prevent wars, not the seller to initiate them, but to be in a position where we can send a strong signal that we can meet our alliance obligations and deal with these new and rapidly emerging challenges that confront europe as well as the world. >> north korea launched a ballistic missile from a submarine on saturday. later north korea's foreign minister said that they will
help a nuclear test at the u.s. suspends its military exercises with south korea. do you view that as a serious overture and at this point how do you assess north korea's nuclear capability? and to chancellor merkel, you both have spoken about the strong working relationship that the two of you have, as you look ahead to the end of president obama's term, how do you view the possibility of working with a new u.s. president who has called your refugee policy insane? pres. obama: with respect to north korea, we are still analyzing and assessing with precision the activities the north koreans engaged in over the last several days. i will let the pentagon and our intelligence community debrief everyone once we have precise information. it is clear that north korea
continues to engage in continuous provocative behavior. that they have been actively pursuing a nuclear program and an ability to launch nuclear weapons, and although more often than not they fail, and many of these tests, they gain knowledge each time they engage in these tests. and we take it very seriously. so do our allies and so does the entire world. it is for this reason why we have continually mobilized the international community to isolate north korea, to crank up the sanctions that impose a cost on kim jong-un, and why we have cultivated crop or a with the chinese to put pressure on north korea. although it is not where we
would completely like it to be, i will say that we have seen the chinese be more alarmed and take more seriously what north korea is doing and they had been willing to be more forward leaning in exacting a price on north korea's destructive behavior. in terms of overtures, we don't take seriously a promise to simply halt until the next time they decide to do a test. what we have said consistently, is that if north korea shows seriousness indeed nuclear rising the korean peninsula, then we will be prepared to enter interests with
serious conversations with them about reducing pensions -- tensions and our approach to protecting our allies in the region. that is not something that happens based on a press release. in the wake of a series of provocative behaviors. they are going to have to do better than that. until they do, we will continue to emphasize our work with the republic of korea and japan and are missile-defense systems to make sure we are keeping the american people safe and we are keeping our allies say. -- safe. chancellor merkel: let me make two remarks. first, i concentrate on the task ahead for 2016, i'm quite busy with that. and i'm looking with great interest that the american election campaign. >> madame chancellor, the president a few days ago said it was a great mistake not to have had a plan after the intervention in libya.
do you feel confined by the fact that you abstain for that, and do you feel that you are sufficiently supported after this in your policies? and with the president in germany there is resistance to settlement schemes, are you going to accommodate the germans? and are you actually envious of the chancellor that her time of office has actually ended in terms of the colleg -- constitution compared to yours? chancellor merkel: if you take a decision that is different from that decision that one of your friends is taking it is never
easy, but it we still remain friends and it still remains are joint goal. we need to build up a sanctioning state in libya which is anything but easy. that is why we are working so hard and trying to cooperate internationally in order to bring about this goal. so basically, let's look ahead at what we want to achieve. let's try and stabilize this country. it is not easy, not at all, because they have a tribal structure in libya. they have a very -- a history very much their own. they have never had a national
army, never had a functioning state. so all of these things coming -- come into the equation we have to think about when we are trying to stabilize the country and money try to strengthen the population. -- and when we try to strengthen the population. pres. obama: with respect to libya, i want to be very clear, i continue to believe that it was the right thing to do for us to intervene as part of a u.n. mandated international coalition to prevent some of the potentially murderous behavior
that gadhafi was talking about. i do believe that it was important for us to properly plan, prepare, and resource what came next. and i think it was possible for us to do that effectively, i think that we didn't do it as effectively as we should have. that does not negate the importance of us all now investing in making sure that there is a functioning libyan government. the fact that we now have a government and national court, fragile as it is, requires us to do everything we can to encourage it. and this is a conversation i have had throughout my meetings during this trip, whether in london or now here. with respect to the partnership negotiations, what you are saying is differences continually narrowing, and i think it is up to the negotiators to try to find compromises and solutions on all of these issues. the issue of dispute settlement
is something that has gained a lot of attention and attraction among those who generally oppose trade agreements. keep in mind that the vast majority of trade agreements already contain such dispute resolution mechanisms. and the terrible scenarios that are painted in which from the cooperations are going around suing countries are going around. none of these things have happened with the many trade agreements that currently exist. and that germany and the united
states, and the eu, and others are already a part of. i think it is important for us to look at the facts and not a bunch of hypothetical pronouncements. and the fact is, that for example in the transpacific partnership that we've negotiated, you have countries that right now have very few labor rights, but now are required to have labor rights and by the way can be enforced by workers the same way that corporations that. you have environmental provisions that now are fully enforceable and that raise standards in countries that may not have even had up until this point any serious environmental laws in place.
so if you look point by point at t, the issue is not whether another we trade, the issue is under what terms. i believe that countries like the united states, like germany that already have high standards, that already make sure that how businesses operate are not completely based on profit but are also based on the common good, that that improves rather than detracts from the kinds of progressive goals that brought me into office in the first place. otherwise i would not support these laws. with respect to your last question, i do not envy on the merkel -- angela merkel for not having term limits. i have said this before. i love this job. it is an extraordinary privilege. i wake up every day knowing that what i do matters and that i can help somebody somewhere, both inside the united states and around the world. make the world a little safer, a little prosperous, help sometime get an education, held some disease get cured, it is an extra ordinary privilege, but i have come to appreciate at least in the united states the wisdom
of our founders. i think it is healthy for a big diverse country like ours to have some turnover. to use a phrase from basketball, some fresh like to come in -- fresh legs to come in. or choose another sports phrase, i run my leg of the race and i passed the baton to the other person. i will will be sure that when i leave my office the desk will be clean and it will be better off in the way i found it. now having said that, i'm glad angela is still sticking around because i think the world benefits from her steady
presence. and she is to be admired for her remarkable endurance. and as a private citizen, i will continue to admire her and appreciate the work that she is doing. by the way, what is happening with respect to her position on refugees here, in europe, she is on the right side of history on this. and for her to take on some very tough politics in order to express not just a humanitarian concern but also practical concern, that in this globalized world it is very difficult for us to safely build walls. she is giving voice to the kinds of principles that bring people together, rather than divide them.
i'm very proud of her for that. and i'm proud of the german people for that. thank you very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> the white house correspondents association is hosting its annual dinner this saturday. it will be president obama's annual -- last appearance at this event this term. is prouder: no one to put this birth certificate
donald,to rest than the because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter like, did we fake the moon landing? what really happened in roswell? upac?here are biggie and t [applause] all kidding aside, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. [laughter] seriously, just recently, in an episode of "celebrity apprentice," at the steakhouse, the men's cooking game did not impress the judges from omaha steaks and there was a lot of blame to go arod,