From: McCumber, David C
Sent: Monday, March 09, 2015 2:59 PM
Subject: In-town pool report #7
At 3:08 p.m., pool was escorted into Oval Office, where President Obama is hosting bilateral discussions with European Council President Donald Tusk.
Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and a host of others were standing by as the two presidents, seated, made short statements.
"It is a great pleasure to welcome
President Tusk to the White House in his new role," Obama said, adding that he had enjoyed working with Tusk in his earlier role of Prime Minister of Poland.
"A major topic of conversation will be the situation in Ukraine. We must maintain strong unity with respect to sanctions (against Russia)," Obama said, adding that the allies must "uphold he sovereignty" of Ukraine even as it is "threatened by aggression."
He also cited "significant challenges to the economy of Ukraine ... We must make sure the 90 percent of Ukraine still governed in Kiev" has economic success.
Obama said the two leaders would discuss "a wide range of other issues," including global growth and the global economy; strengthening trade through new agreements; the situation in Greece and how to bolster European growth: security challenges "beyond Ukraine," including "the situation in Libya and the situation in Iraq."
"We have a busy agenda but we have a great partner," Obama said.
Tusk thanked Obama for the opportunity to come to Washington. He agreed "we have much to discuss" but said he would focus "special attention " on the situation with Russia and the Ukraine; the threat of the "so-called Islamic State" and the opportunities for trade and investment partnerships.
The "common denominator," Tusk said, "is the unity of Europe and he United States."
He said at "we can see with total clarity" that enemies "are trying to divide us," reminding that "the past has shown that when we are united we can successfully fight against terror."
"We must speak with one voice, and we must speak up," he said. "Who we are tomorrow depends on what we do today."
Tusk added, "Now is the best time for a
Renaissance of faith in our community."
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