Obama meets European leaders to discuss challenges

Talks in Germany on security and economic issues possibly US president’s last in such a setting before Trump takes over.

President Barack Obama has joined the leaders of major European countries in Germany to discuss an array of security and economic challenges facing the transatlantic partners as the US prepares for Donald Trump to take office in January.

Obama’s meeting on Friday with the leaders of Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Spain was possibly his last in such a setting before he leaves office.

The session expanded on lengthy talks he held the day before with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Since Obama’s arrival on Wednesday on his sixth and last trip to Germany as president, he and Merkel have focused several meetings on issues of globalisation and transatlantic cooperation.

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The talks come largely in the context of what the election of the Republican presidential candidate will mean to efforts to seek peace in Ukraine and Syria, the strength of the NATO alliance, trade agreements, efforts to fight climate change and other pressing matters.

Obama said on Thursday that his hope was the Brexit negotiations would be “conducted in a smooth and orderly and transparent fashion and preserve as closely as possible the economic and political and security relationships between the UK and EU”.

Brexit praised

Trump had applauded the British decision to exit the EU, or Brexit, and has had meetings with Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party and a key player in the British decision to leave.

On other issues, Obama said he hoped for continuity of US-European relations under Trump, saying “how important it is that we work together”.

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Obama said that “continued global leadership on climate in addition to increasing private investment and clean energy is going to be critical”.

He said that the US would “continue to stand united with Germany and our NATO allies” in Afghanistan, and that on the refugee crisis he had put in place more robust support from Washington and that he was “hoping that continues beyond my administration”.

Following his meetings in Berlin, Obama heads to Peru, the final leg of his last foreign tour, for the Asia-Pacific trade summit.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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