Joint Press Conference by N. Sarkozy and B. Obama, 3 November 2011
G20 Summit — Cannes, Thursday, 3 November 2011
MR BARACK OBAMA — Well it is wonderful to be back in France. And I want to thank my excellent friend and colleague, Nicolas Sarkozy for his hospitality. He and I have obviously worked on a wide range of issues since I’ve been president and I always welcome his frank and honest assessment of the situations here.
It’s also nice to be back visiting in France. The last time I was in the south of France —or the first time rather—was as a college student and I’ve never forgotten the hospitality of the French people and the extraordinary views that are available here.
This morning, President Sarkozy and I reaffirmed our strong and enduring ties and I’ve said on many occasions that France is not only our oldest ally but also one of our closest. And I consider Nicolas to be an outstanding and trusted partner on the world stage.
I think it’s no surprise that we spent most of our conversation focused on strengthening the global economic recovery so that we are creating jobs for our people and stabilizing the financial markets around the world. The most important aspect of our task over the next two days is to resolve the financial crisis here in Europe. President Sarkozy has shown extraordinary leadership on this issue. I agree with him that the EU has made some important steps towards a comprehensive solution —and that would not have happened without Nicolas’ leadership—, but here at the G20 we’re going to have to flesh out more of the details about how the plan will be fully and decisively implemented.
And we also discussed the situation in Greece and how we can work to help resolve that situation as well. The United States will continue to be a partner of the Europeans to resolve these challenges. We had the opportunity also to talk about a range of security issues. One in particular that I want to mention is the continuing threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program. The IAEA is scheduled to release a report on Iran’s nuclear program next week and President Sarkozy and I agree on the need to maintain the unprecedented international pressure on Iran to meet its obligations.
And finally I’m looking forward to joining Nicolas and service members from both of our countries tomorrow to celebrate the alliance between our two countries which spans more than two hundred years, from Yorktown to Libya.
And finally I want to mention that this is the first meeting since the arrival of the newest Sarkozy and so I want to congratulate Nicolas and Carla on the birth of Giulia. And I informed Nicolas on the way in that I’m confident that Giulia inherited her mother’s looks rather than her father’s, which I think is an excellent thing. And so now we share one of the greatest challenges and blessings of life and that is being fathers to our daughters. And so again Nicolas, thank you for your friendship, thank you for our partnership and thank you for your gracious hospitality.
THE PRESIDENT — You can see the big influence Barack Obama has. It’s been four years now that he’s been explaining to me what it’s like to be a father to daughters, having two of them himself. As you can see, I’ve listened to him and followed his example.
I should first tell you that our agenda was very demanding. We have our share of serious issues to deal with and we need the leadership of President Obama, the support of the United States of America and a common analysis to get the world back on track with a growth and stability strategy. And President Obama and I are together striving to build unity in the G20.
I would also like to commend the United States’ understanding of the entire range of issues that we’ll be addressing over the next 48 hours, including the Greek crisis, the problems with the euro and the need to work together with the United States to solve them, drafting the final communiqué, and I want to commend President Obama’s understanding, including with regard to such issues as the financial transaction tax. We shared our viewpoints about this tax and I believe we reached a common analysis in order for the financial world to take part in resolving today’s crisis.
I would also like to say how happy I am that President Obama is staying on a few hours after the Summit for bilateral talks and to pay tribute to the United States armed forces and France’s armed forces, who have fought side-by-side so many times in our past. And how happy I am to appear together with President Obama on a televised news program, because here in France, the French people love the United States and think very highly of President Obama.
So that is the extremely busy agenda we will address over the next two days. We’ll have the chance to see you again and to provide you with the details of the decisions we take.