Fw: WH Travel Pool 11/19 #5: Bilat quick highlights

From: Memoli, Michael [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Thursday, November 19, 2015 03:27 PM
To: Barnes, Desiree N. EOP/WHO
Subject: WH Travel Pool 11/19 #5: Bilat quick highlights

After a closed bilateral meeting that lasted 25 minutes pool entered a small conference room at 2:40 where POTUS and PM Trudeau made statements and took Qs for a half hour. Topics included Assad, Guantanamo, Canada's participation in anti ISIL campaign and the parallels between Mr. Obama's early months and Trudeau's -- there was talk of gray hair.

Mr. Obama said he looked forward to welcoming Mr. Trudeau to Washington soon.

Quick highlights: asked to identify specifically what the US might be willing to accept re: Assad role in a political transition, POTUS said "he does not foresee a situation in which we can end the civil war in Syria while Assad remains in power."

"That's not a matter of my decision-making. Even if I said that was okay, I still don't think it would actually work. You could not get the Syrian people -- the majority of them -- to agree to that kind of outcome."

POTUS largely repeated his view on admitting refugees and the rigorous measures in place to vet them. "The idea that somehow they pose a more significant threat than all the tourists who pour into the United States every single day just doesn't jive with reality."

He didn't clarify the timeline on a plan to close Guantanamo but said he expected the number of detainees would be reduced to fewer than 100 "by early next year."

"We are going to go through meticulously with Congress what our options are."

More tk

Mike Memoli
Los Angeles Times / Tribune Washington Bureau
xxx-xxx-xxxx • @mikememoli

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