Below is the President's speech on Middle East policy that he made at the State Department on Thursday.
The State Department is a fitting venue to mark a new chapter in American diplomacy. For six months, we have witnessed an extraordinary change taking place in the Middle East and North Africa. Square by square, town by town, country by country, the people have risen up to demand their basic human rights. Two leaders have stepped aside. More may follow. And though these countries may be a great distance from our shores, we know that our own future is bound to this region by the forces of economics and security, by history and by faith.
The following statement was released by Netanyahu's office on Thursday in response to President Obama's speech on the Middle East given earlier in the day:
Israel appreciates President Obama’s commitment to peace. Israel believes that for peace to endure between Israelis and Palestinians, the viability of a Palestinian state cannot come at the expense of the viability of the one and only Jewish state.
That is why Prime Minister Netanyahu expects to hear a reaffirmation from President Obama of U.S. commitments made to Israel in 2004, which were overwhelmingly supported by both Houses of Congress.
Today’s Washington Post column titled “Death of the War Powers Act” notes this Friday marks the 60th day since President Obama told Congress of his Libyan campaign. According to the War Powers Act, that declaration started a 60-day clock: If Obama fails to obtain congressional support for his decision within this time limit, he has only one option — end American involvement within the following 30 days.
In light of this, Libya continues to discomfit the international community. No one in the West wants to be accused of shirking the responsibility to protect civilians in conflict zones -- whether the hundreds of thousands who died in Rwanda and Darfur, the millions who died in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the hundreds dying now in Ivory Coast, Yemen and Bahrain. "Not on our watch" was the cry uttered at the height of the "save Darfur" movement; the messaging on Libya summons this same noble feeling. In protecting vulnerable populaces, however, there are four lessons from Libya, which are particularly pertinent for U.S. policymakers.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a question and answer session with European Union High Representative for Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton Tuesday in Washington. Below is the conversation.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it is such a pleasure for me to welcome back to the State Department High Representative Cathy Ashton.
The United States and the European Union are partners working together on, I think, every global issue and regional challenge that you can imagine. We’re doing the urgent, the important, and the long-term all at once, and we are united in a transatlantic community that is based on shared democratic values and limitless faith in human potential.
As always, Cathy and I had a lot to talk about because there is so much happening around the world at a time when people are standing up for their rights and demanding a say in their own futures. And both the European Union and the United States are very committed to advancing democratic values and universal rights, and we know how important that is over the long term. But we also know that right now those rights are under threats from repression and reprisals.