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Westerwelle welcomes Obama’s State of the Union address

On 12 February, US President Barack Obama delivered the traditional State of the Union address. In this speech, he set a number of foreign policy priorities which Germany shares and supports.

The President came out in favour of negotiating with Russia in order to further reduce the two countries’ nuclear arsenals. He also called for securing nuclear material in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. He wants to launch talks with the European Union on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. With a view to Afghanistan, he announced the withdrawal of 34,000 US soldiers by the beginning of 2014 as well as continued American commitment to the training and equipment of the Afghan armed forces.

Foreign Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement in support of the US President’s policy priorities:

“I welcome the fact that the President aims at further progress on nuclear disarmament. Nuclear disarmament and non proliferation are key security policy challenges of our time. I therefore hope that Russia will take up the offer to continue negotiations.
Moreover, the Federal Government expressly welcomes President Obama’s commitment to negotiations on a transatlantic free trade zone. I hope for strong political momentum in this direction so that words will be swiftly followed by deeds. Enhanced trade and investment can drive growth on both sides of the Atlantic without running up new debt.
The announcement of a further American troop drawdown in Afghanistan bears witness to the world’s united stance on the implementation of the agreed Afghanistan strategy. The international community is on schedule as far as the handover of responsibility for security and the withdrawal of combat forces by the end of 2014 is concerned.”

Background:

The annual State of the Union address delivered before both houses of Congress is envisaged in Article II of the US Constitution. It provides the President with an opportunity to outline his perspective on the state of the nation and to present important political priorities and projects for his term of office. But foreign policy is only one item on the agenda. Large sections of this year’s address dealt with domestic issues such as the labour market and immigration policy.


Last updated 13.02.2013

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