From: Parsons, Christi [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 02:58 PM
To: Velz, Peter T. EOP; Barnes, Desiree N. EOP
Subject: POTUS print pool 9 -- second half of gaggle, highlights
Check transcript, these are just highlights
Q. Syria follow up -- what about the role of European nations, and their effort to bridge the divide between the U.S. and Russia? What about this EU proposal?
Josh: can’t comment, haven’t seen proposal … but would welcome participation of international community to support a political transition.
Q. What about enforcing a no-fly zone?
A. That’s not something we’re considering, it raises logistical questions about how it would be enforced, what resources would be used, our position hasn’t changed.
Q. Is there room to be flexible about when Assad goes? Isn’t that what Kerry has been saying?
A. we’ve indicated a desire to have discussions about this with other stakeholders in the region. The political challenges inside of Syria are a significant impediment to our ability to degrade and destroy ISIL. We can’t solve the ISIL problem that way.
Q. Are the Russians stepping in to fill a leadership vacuum created by the U.S. step-back?
A. Syria is the last toe hold that Russia has in the middle East . . . It’s hard to argue that Russia’s moves are rooted in confidence about their position in the middle east. In fact there’s ample reason to think they’re responding to Syria from a position of weakness, because they’re concerned about changes in that country …. We need to consider what common ground we might share.
Q. But hasn’t this created an opening for players like Russia? And how does Russia plan to support the Assad government?
A. There was not a detailed discussion on how Russia will support Assad, but the leaders made a plan to discuss “practical, tactical” discussions ... On the broader question, the president’s UN speech was focused on this very question. It’s the president’s view that the US is acting from a position of strength when we mobilize the international community, lead the international community, in responding to international crises … We want to make sure other countries are bought-in ... We’ve seen the downsides of unilateral US military commitment to conflicts in the Middle East. The US and even the region is still paying the price from some of those ill-advised decisions. The president has taken a very different approach … doesn’t just better advance our interests, but actually is a true reflection of strength and authority in the international community.
Q. How big a deal is the Taliban takeover in Afghan city, does it draw your strategy into question?
A. Condemns Tabliban takeover, DOD has more details about which government facilities have been taken over. Continue to support the Afghan president. Condemn the violence. We are offering some advisory support to them.
Q. First couple of years Obama was at the UN, he was a rock star. Changed?
A. I notice the hall was packed when the president walked up to the podium to speak … Says something about the president, but also says something about the United States … The world is there to listen … That’s an indication that
the US continues to be the country that others look to when confronting international crises.
Q. Updates to president’s schedule this week?
A. We left it flexible anticipating a possible government shutdown.
Q. Are your Euro allies where you need them to be on Syria?
A. We have seen them step up and make additional commitments … those kinds of relationships are important to our continued success
Q. What about Kazakhstan bilateral?
A. Kazakhstand is a particularly important ally ... key play with its low-enriched uranium bank … It's important to our international efforts to promote non-proliferation