Obama Wraps Up G8 Summit, Heads To Poland
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
From NPR News, this is All Things Considered. I'm Michele Norris.
At the G-8 summit in France today, President Obama vowed to finish the job of ousting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. He got some unexpected encouragement from Russia. That country now agrees that Gadhafi must step down. G-8 leaders also discussed the broader changes taking place in the Middle East, as NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
SCOTT HORSLEY: The host of the G-8 Summit, France, has been one of the biggest boosters of NATO's military campaign in Libya. That was one of the major topics this morning when President Obama met one on one with French president, Nicolas Sarkozy.
President BARACK OBAMA: We agreed that we have made progress on our Libya campaign, but that meeting the U.N. mandate of civilian protection cannot be accomplished when Gadhafi remains in Libya directing his forces in acts of aggression against the Libyan people. And we are joined in resolve to finish the job.
HORSLEY: Russia today also called for Gadhafi's departure. A deputy foreign minister said on the sidelines of the G-8 Summit, Russia is now quote, "ready to admit Gadhafi needs to go." That statement marks a turnaround for Moscow, which had been cool towards the NATO campaign. A White House official says Russian president, Dmtry Medvedev, made the same point yesterday in his private meeting with President Obama.
Beyond Libya, G-8 leaders also talked more generally about the democratic uprisings taking place across the Middle East. Mr. Obama encouraged his fellow leaders to provide financial support for the region.
President OBAMA: Not only as they transition to democracy, but also ensuring that that democratic transition is accompanied by economic growth, which can provide more opportunities for all the people, particularly the young people, in the region.
HORSLEY: The White House hopes to build on the experience of Eastern Europe, where economic assistance played an important role in democratic reform following the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Tonight, Mr. Obama's in Poland meeting with some of the leaders of some of those east bloc countries. Poland is the last stop on his European tour before he heads home to Washington tomorrow.
Scott Horsley, NPR News, Warsaw.
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