Spelling out the agenda of the administration in its second year, the White House has said US President Barack Obama and his team would work towards promoting stronger bilateral cooperation with countries like India, Brazil, China and South Africa.
“We will continue to build on the President’s efforts with regards to promoting a stronger bilateral cooperation with countries like India, Brazil, China, South Africa,” White House spokesman Mike Hammer told foreign journalists on Friday.
Mr. Hammer also said the President, in the second year in the office, is determined to work every day to advance American National Security interest.
Noting that a nuclear security summit will be held here on April 11 and 12, he said the President aims to “very aggressively” push forward a counter-proliferation agenda to ensure security of nuclear arms and to prevent any potential for atomic terrorism, which relates to issues of North Korea and Iran.
“We certainly anticipate, of course, the summits in Canada and later in Korea relating to economic issues,” he said, adding the President would be making foreign visits too, but the schedule has not been announced yet.
In the first year, Mr. Obama received countless leaders at the White House - including his first State Guest Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - and he fully anticipates this coming year to also get into discussing many key bilateral ties, Mr. Hammer said.
Mr. Hammer said the issues which the Obama Administration is expected to focus this year include strengthening of NATO alliance and cooperation with them in Afghanistan; situation in Pakistan and Yemen as it relates to al-Qaeda; and cooperation in dealing with Somalia and pirates based in that country as well as the situation in Sudan.
“We just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the US-Japanese alliance - a very important hallmark in that relationship. And, we know from the President’s trip to Asia, how keen the President is to demonstrate to the region, to Asia, that the United States ... will be very engaged in the future of that relationship,” he said.
Mr. Hammer said a year ago, Mr. Obama laid out a very ambitious foreign policy and national security agenda, beginning with the executive orders that he signed immediately in terms of trying to re-establish and restore the American leadership and standing in the world.
“He (Obama) called for the closure of Guantanamo as well as the banning of torture. Starting with that he began what ended up being perhaps the most active engagement internationally that any President has done in his first year in office, including 10 trips abroad to 21 countries,” Mr. Hammer said.
“As part of that of course, he was able to go to Mexico and the Caribbean, in fact to the Trinidad Summit, the Summit of the Americas. We had multiple trips to Europe. We had a trip of course at the end of the year to Asia.”
“In between he (Obama) also managed to go to Africa and to visit Ghana, and, of course, remember the visit to the Middle East and that very important speech he gave in Cairo,” Mr. Hammer said.
As part his engagement with the world, the President at Cairo laid out his vision for a new beginning with the Muslim world, he noted.
Mr. Obama also participated in an exchange with students in Turkey, making sure that people understood the values that the United States stands for and its willingness to engage with countries around the globe to confront the common challenges, he said.
“These challenges start with issues of ... terrorism and go to issues of the economy and we saw the President’s involvement at the London Summit and in Pittsburgh and tremendous work that was done collectively to ensure that the global economy would start on a path to recovery.
“We’ve seen very productive results as a result of that. You’ve seen the efforts in climate change, culminating with Copenhagen where important agreements were reached,” Mr. Hammer said.