Obama holds bilat with Sarkozy, participates in meeting with African leaders Friday in France.
Pool Report #9
Paris, France, May 27
Air Force One (757), landed at 3.14 pm at Orly airport after a short flight from Deauville.
The 747 version awaited on the apron near the terminal.
The president walked past the pool and with a grin asked “How are you guys holding up?”
Then held up a finger and said “one more day.”
He turned at the top of the stairs to wave. A few police watched from the roof of the airport terminal.
AF1 heading down taxiway at 3.40
Pool Report 7
Some readout of G8:
From senior adminsitration offiical:
President Obama and President Sarkozy discussed IMF leadership in their meeting this morning. Sarkozy brought up the topic. POTUS did not offer his support for Christine Lagarde but reiterated to Sarkozy the US position of supporting an open process. The senior administration official would not say whether Sarkozy specifically asked POTUS for his support of Christine Lagarde.
“It did come up in the meeting and we know what France’s position is. &hellip We support the IMF process that they announced last weekend, which has a deadline of I think June 30th or so, and our confident that it will produce a good candidate.”
Q: Sarkozy has said he’s going to press POTUS on this, and ask him for his support [of Lagarde], how did the president respond?
“The president, similar to what I said, restated our position that the IMF has announced a process and it’s important to go through that process.”
Mike Froman, deputy national security aid for international economic affairs:
On the $20 billion over 3 years for MENA from MBBs: “It’s not a blank check. It’s in the context of overall reform programs. … It’s an envelope that could be achieved in the context of suitable reform efforts.”
General takeway on Arab Spring package: “More important than any numerical figure, I think, is the vision that it lays out. … This is largely a case of trade not aid, investment not assistance over time. It’s really about establishing the conditions under which the private sectors in these economies can flourish and the benefits of growth are broadly shared.”
Discussion on Central and Eastern Europe comparisions with Middle East and North Africa:
(This wasn’t at the meeting with Egypt and Tunisia’s leaders this morning, but yesterday among the G8 itself): “There was a lot of discussion about how does this compare to the fall of the Berlin wall, what the G7 at that time did to help drive institutional reform at the international level as well as democratic and economic reform in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the willingness of the G8 to step up and try and do the same thing with the Middle East and North Africa.”
“There are vast differences between Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East and North Africa so it’s not an analogy that one should overstress, but in terms of moments in time when important democratic and economic transitions begin this is a comparable moment”
“It is a moment when the international community is coming together and focused on doing everything that it can”
More from a Senior administration official
Egypt/Tunisia leaders meeting: The Egyptian and Tunisian leaders presented first, describing separately what their challenges were, who they were going to go after them and what they could do to help. Obama then spoke and laid out our view of what was necessary in the region and how we saw ourselves support. The Tunisian prime minister “was incredibly energetic and dynamic,” the official said. One of them, the official said, referred to POTUS’s 2008 campaign theme, “Yes we can” just as Obama said.
Jon Lipsky of IMF and Robert Zoellick of World Bank spoke next. G8 leaders detailed what they were willing to do to help.
On reports that the US offered political support to sort out the debt crisis: “The president made clear that we have a strong interest in the Eurozone successfully managing their way through the situation, that we have been supportive of them doing so, that it’s their issue to figure out how to resolve,” the official said. “We have confidence that they’ll be able to work through it.”
POTUS’s role in summit: The things that POTUS did before the summit – ie last week’s speech – set the groundwork for discussions on Arab Spring, Libya and Middle East peace. Official said the role of US leadership – of the United States as a whole and leadership of POTUS specifically – helped shape the discussion on various issues, including climate change and DOHA.
Climate change talks: Discussion focused on how to make sure the process moves forward.
G8 in general: It was “quite a good G8” and has underscored what’s best about it. US is strong proponents for G20, but “there is something about the G8 and a small group of leaders who deal with each other across a wide range of issues.” Administration official impressed with Sarkozy’s management of the discussions. Official talked about the role of G8 vs G20.
On EERD reoriented role in the Deauville Partnership: EERD has staff and resources focused on transition, and while each country’s “While the transition in each country’s different, it [EERD] is well-placed to bring that expertise from the Central and Eastern European experience to this region,” the official said.
POTUS told the group he’s seeking approval from Congress for a MENA enterprise zone.
“The Central and Eastern European experience is a two-decade long experience. These are long, hard transitions to work through. During the session with Tunisia and Egypt, POTUS said, “There will be forward movement and backward movement. This is not a linear process. There will be ups and downs. And we need to be engaged for the long run.”
Pool is holding for departure to Warsaw.
Pool Report #6
The President emerged from the meetings with African leaders in deep conversation with Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf. The two men spoke with a translator by their side for several minutes before the group photo op. They were too far away to hear the content of their chat.
After the photo op, the pool sprinted outside to see the leaders walk into the Villa Le Cercle for a working lunch. The walk was billed as a chance for a shot of the Egyptian Prime Minister and Obama talking together, but in the event, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi emerged from the distance with Sharaf, and the President walked alongside UN chief Ban Ki-moon a few feet behind.
Deauville, May 27
The president attended the Enlarged Dialogue between the G8 and African Nations.
The main event was the appearance of Ivory Coast leader Alassane Ouattara who took power this month after a standoff triggered when his rival Laurent Gbagbo refused to step down after a disputed election in November.
Various world leaders approached Ouattara to congratulate him.
British PM David Cameron was heard to say “many congratulations.”
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was also in the room and was seen in conversation with UN chief Ban Ki-moon.
President Obama was among the last leaders to arrive and circled the table in shaking hands with African leaders.
He finally took his seat next to Ouattara, as the pool was being muscled out of the room and Sarkozy started speaking. But we did see the two men shake hands.
The meeting included leaders or representatives from the UN, Japan, Germany, Guinea, Algeria, France, Ethiopia, the US, Ivory Coast, Europe, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Canada, Niger, Senegal, Russia, Italy, UK, World Bank, IMF, African Union.
Pool Report 4:
Egypt and Tunisia G8 working session:
Pool entered the room where the session is being held at 10:10am. All the leaders were to be seated around a large circular table. President Obama’s seat was in between the U.K. and Egypt.
Kr. Obama was in his chair at the U.S. spot when pool entered, but he got up to greet some of the other leaders. He first was talking to Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf. As they were chatting, British Prime Minister David Cameron walked over and stopped to shake Mr. Sharaf’s hand. The three of them spoke briefly. Cameron continued on, next stopping to chat with French President Nicolas Sarkozy about their affection for running. “I went along the beach,” Mr. Cameron said. “25 minutes. You do an hour.”
Meanwhile, Amr Moussa, the head of the Arab League, approached POTUS and Mr. Sharaf. It was hard to hear what he was saying, but at one point Mr. Obama, who was chewing gum, told them, “It’s an enormous opportunity, and we want to be your partner.” He also said something about “embrace fully.” A sherpa for Egypt also approached and the four of them talked for a few moments.
Then UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon approached. “Good to see you,” POTUS said to him. “How are you doing, secretary general. You doing well? You look well.”
Mr. Sarkozy called the session to order and pool was ushered out after a 5-minute spray.
Pool Report # 3
Deauville, May 27
Obama and Sarkozy stood together in front of two microphones in a room next to the bilat room and gave short statements.
The President thanked Sarkozy for his leadership on the world stage over the last several years and noted that the last time he was in Normandy it was two years ago for the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
“France is our oldest ally, and continues to be one of our closest allies,” Obama said.
“We had an enormous convergence of approaches, views, on the challenges that we face around the world.
“We agreed that the changes that are taking place in the Middle East and North Africa make the pursuit of peace between Israelis and the Palestinians more urgent not less.
“We agreed to coordinate closely in encouraging the parties to sit down round a negotiation table and resolve the situation.”
“We agreed that we have made progress on our Libya campaign. But that meeting the UN mandate of civilian protection cannot be accomplished when Kadhafi remains in Libya directing his forces in acts of aggression against the Libyan people.”
“We are joined in resolve to finish the job.”
Obama also noted “opportunities as well as challenges that are presented by the Arab spring,”
Sarkozy spoke first.
He said that the US and France had the “same analysis” on Libya
“Libyans are entitled to a democratic future. I also wish to thank President Obama for the smooth running of this G8 summit and his involvement to ensure that this multilateral world of ours is run smoothly,” he said.
He said that the people of Normandy were particularly happy to see Obama
“It is certainly not forgotten all that they and we owe the Americans.
“For all of us French men and women and in particular the people of Normandy, when the President of the United States is standing on this ground it is particularly significant.
“There are many young Americans who gave their lives for us, who rest on Normandy soil.”
As Obama walked out the president was asked by Carol Lee whether he would support the French candidate for the IMF top job Christine Lagarde. She got a nice smile and a handshake but no answer in return.
He then paused to talk with several poolers and asked if anyone was getting any sleep, and noted it was fortunate this was a five day trip and not a 10 day one.
Ann Compton popped the question on the Patriot Act and he answered, as detailed in Pool Report #2, looking over his shoulder on the way out of the room.
Pool report #2
On the way out of the statements with Sarkozy, Potus was asked about the Patriot Act extension.
“I think it is an important tool for us to continue dealing with an ongoing terrorist threat,” he said.
Notes on remarks to come, no major news
Pool Report #1
Deauville, May 27
President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy met at 8.32 am in a boardroom-style setting in the seafront Royal Barriere hotel.
The two delegations took their seats and Sarkozy, who seemed keen to get going, dismissed the press with a wave and a “Merci.”
Their meeting is set to last 45 minutes.
Two mics are set up in an adjacent room for post-bilat statements.
-US Ambassador to the French Republic Charles Rivkin
-Bill Daley, White House Chief of Staff
-Tom Donilon, National Security Advisor
-Bill Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
-Mike Froman, Deputy NSA for International Economic Affairs
-Liz Sherwood-Randall, Senior Director For European Affairs, NSC
-David Lipton, Senior Director for International Economic Affairs, NSC
-Hoot Baez, Director for NATO and Western European Affairs, NSC
President Nicolas Sarkozy
-General Benoît Puga, Military Chief of Staff
-Henri Guaino, Special Advisor
Jean-David Levitte, Diplomatic Advisor
-Emmanuel Moulin, Economic Advisor
-Olivier Colom, G8 & G20 Advisor
Francois Richier, Political & Military Advisor
-Conseulo Remmert, Technical Advisor for G8 & G20