Obama Holds G-8 Closing News Conference and Discusses Nuclear Weapons, Climate Change, UN Reform, and R2P

President Obama held a news conference on the morning of July 10, 2009, to wrap the three-day G-8 summit, held in the Italian city of L'Aquila. He began by discussing the importance of the summit, saying that "the challenges of our time threaten the peace and prosperity of every single nation, and no one nation can meet these challenges alone." He went on to say that "we can let the stale debates and old disagreements of the past divide us, or we can recognize our shared interests and shared aspirations and work together to create a safer and cleaner and more prosperous world for future generations."

Obama also summarized the outcome of the G-8 talks, saying that G-8 nations agreed to continue financial institutional reform and stimulus programs. He also said that the other G-8 members agreed to his strategy for nuclear non-proliferation, as outlined in his speech in Prague, which includes efforts to strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT] and hold countries accountable to their commitments to arms control and disarmament. He also said that the G-8 nations agreed to reduce global emissions by 80% by 2050 and committed $20 billion to fund agricultural programs to help fight world hunger.

In response to questions, Obama spoke of the need to "reform and revitalize" the United Nations, as well as make international forums such as the G-8 open to other major powers like China, India, and Brazil. He said that "we're trying to find the right shape that combines the efficiency and capacity for action with inclusiveness," and that "the United States...is an absolutely committed partner to concerted international action, but we need to...make sure that they're as productive as possible."

Obama was also asked about his thoughts on the Responsibility to Protect. He noted that there are "circumstances in which...the need for international intervention becomes a moral imperative, the most obvious example being in a situation like Rwanda where genocide has occured." He added that "my administration wants to...build up international norms, [and] put pressure - economic, diplomatic, et cetera - on nations that are not acting in accordance with universal values towards their citizens."

To read the full transcript, click here.

Support Our Work

We have a proven track record in making a difference. But we can't build the peaceful future we envision without your support. Become a donor now!