FW: Foreign pool report POTUS and Nordic leaders , Grand Foyer#1

-----Original Message-----
From: Nadia Bilbassy [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2016 10:51 AM
To: Barnes, Desiree N. N. EOP/WHO ; Velz, Peter T. EOP/WHO ; xxx@email.com
Subject: Foreign pool report POTUS and Nordic leaders , Grand Foyer#1

The Grand foyer was set up with chairs on the left side of the room against the background of the honor guards representing different military services standing up with their rifles .

Around 30 guests entered the room including Secretary John Kerry , National Security Advisor Susan Rice and assistant Secretary for Europran Affairs Victoria Nuland . Other guests were part of the Nordic delegations and ambassadors .

Secretary Kerry was making jokes with the front raw , loud laughters were echoing in the room.

Later, the First Lady and the Spouses of the leaders took their seats on the right side of the foyer . The order of the seating next to FlOTUS from her left were Finland , Norway , Sweden , Denmark , and Iceland.

The Prime  Minister of Norway who is a female was joined by her husband who was seated with the First Ladies .

Music played ( could be by a Marines band but cant verify ) to the grand entry of POTUS and the leaders of the Nordic counties who stood on the left side of the room and remained standing during the entire ceremony.

President Obama's welcome speech was injected with humor about the bad Washington weather , the contribution of the Nordic countries to the world of music ; mentioned Abba and a heavy metal Finish band ,furnitures ( without naming the company ) , video games like angry bird and candy crush . He talked about how Swedish citizens will answer the phone if you dialed in and give you all the info you need without traveling to Sweden .The crowd laughed at many of his jokes.

On a more serious note , POTUS praised them for  their close alliance , playing a big role in cleaning up the environment , participating in multilateral organizations to bring peace and stability in conflict zones .
POTUS emphasis was on common values , like democracy and human rights , free market and trade .

He said that Nordic counties have the least income inequality gap in  the world .

Since there are 5 head of states , POTUS illustrated the good nature of the Nordic leaders to demonstrate cooperation by allowing few of them to speak during the day .

President of Finland spoke first , also making jokes about the weather . He said that the flags lining up Pennsylvania Avenue "warmed  up his heart " .  He described the Nordic countries as a "superpower" on their own , not military as he said but in terms of what they collectively contribute to the world in the field of technology , environmental protection , education , culture , multilateral organizations . "We are champions of modesty ". He said .

He added that the Baltic region is tense and he relies on the United States and willing to work with the US to bring about stability . He mentioned Russia in terms of cooperation and risk .

The Norwegian PM also spoke , she joked that  POTUS are in his final months and therefore the state dinner reserved ( the last for the best ).

She too talked about security cooperation after 9/11 and in the fight against ISIS .she said that the Atlantic united us and doesn't separate us in terms of trade .

"The founding fathers of Norway looked up to the ideals and principals of the United States ".

She referred to NY meeting about sustainable development , gender gaps and girls education , she praised the First Lady's efforts and talked collectively " as women , mothers, and leaders". Helping girls getting educated .

She shared the president efforts to get the world rid of nuclear weapons and willingness to work towards non proliferation.

Full script of speech will follow .
Below are the names of  the leaders and their spouses .

.      His Excellency Sigurdur Ingi Jóhannsson (PM of Iceland) and Mrs. Ingibjörg Elsa Ingjaldsdóttir

2.      His Excellency Lars Løkke Rasmussen (PM of Denmark) and Mrs. Sólrun Løkke Rasmussen

3.      His Excellency Stefan Löfven (PM of Sweden) and Mrs. Ulla Löfven

4.      Her Excellency Erna Solberg (PM of Norway) and Mr. Sindre Finnes

5.      His Excellency Sauli Niinistö (President of the Republic of Finland) and Mrs. Jenni Haukio

Nadia Bilbassy -Charters
Bureau Chief
Alarabiya Washington
xxx-xxx-xxxx

Nadia Bilbassy -Charters
Bureau Chief
Alarabiya Washington
xxx-xxx-xxxx
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