April 11th, 2009
10:56 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama calls on nations to unite to confront world’s challenges

(CNN) - President Barack Obama on Saturday urged the world’s nations to come together to confront global challenges like the economic crisis and international terrorism.

In his first weekly address since returning from his overseas trip, Obama said the United States must lead in these efforts. “But our best chance to solve these unprecedented problems comes from acting in concert with other nations,” he said.

“With all that is at stake today, we cannot afford to talk past one another. We can’t afford to allow old differences to prevent us from making progress in areas of common concern. We can’t afford to let walls of mistrust stand,” the president said. “Instead, we have to find – and build on – our mutual interests. For it is only when people come together, and seek common ground, that some of that mistrust can begin to fade. And that is where progress begins.”

Obama was in Europe last week for a series of summits, initially meeting with world leaders at the G-20 summit in London, to discuss the global financial crisis.

The president highlighted the progress made during his eight-day trip. Leaders at the G-20 – a meeting of the world’s largest economies – have come together to help stimulate the economy, he said.

At the NATO summit on the French-German border, the president was hoping to get a boost in resources for the war in Afghanistan. He did get allies to pledge about 5,000 troops, but in the form of police and security trainers, not combat troops.

The president on Saturday commended commitments from NATO allies to support the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Obama also extended his best wishes to those celebrating Passover and Easter this weekend, saying, “let’s find strength in our shared resolve and purpose in our common aspirations. And if we can do that, then not only will we fulfill the sacred meaning of these holy days, but we will fulfill the promise of our country as a leader around the world.”

Full remarks after the jump

Remarks of President Barack Obama

Weekly Address

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I speak to you today during a time that is holy and filled with meaning for believers around the world. Earlier this week, Jewish people gathered with family and friends to recite the stories of their ancestors’ struggle and ultimate liberation. Tomorrow, Christians of all denominations will come together to rejoice and remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

These are two very different holidays with their own very different traditions. But it seems fitting that we mark them both during the same week. For in a larger sense, they are both moments of reflection and renewal. They are both occasions to think more deeply about the obligations we have to ourselves and the obligations we have to one another, no matter who we are, where we come from, or what faith we practice.

This idea – that we are all bound up, as Martin Luther King once said, in “a single garment of destiny”– is a lesson of all the world’s great religions. And never has it been more important for us to reaffirm that lesson than it is today – at a time when we face tests and trials unlike any we have seen in our time. An economic crisis that recognizes no borders. Violent extremism that’s claimed the lives of innocent men, women, and children from Manhattan to Mumbai. An unsustainable dependence on foreign oil and other sources of energy that pollute our air and water and threaten our planet. The proliferation of the world’s most dangerous weapons, the persistence of deadly disease, and the recurrence of age-old conflicts.

These are challenges that no single nation, no matter how powerful, can confront alone. The United States must lead the way. But our best chance to solve these unprecedented problems comes from acting in concert with other nations. That is why I met with leaders of the G-20 nations to ensure that the world’s largest economies take strong and unified action in the face of the global economic crisis. Together, we’ve taken steps to stimulate growth, restore the flow of credit, open markets, and dramatically reform our financial regulatory system to prevent such crises from occurring again – steps that will lead to job creation at home.

It is only by working together that we will finally defeat 21st century security threats like al Qaeda. So it was heartening that our NATO allies united in Strasbourg behind our strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and contributed important resources to support our effort there.

It is only by coordinating with countries around the world that we will stop the spread of the world’s most dangerous weapons. That is why I laid out a strategy in Prague for us to work with Russia and other nations to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons; to secure nuclear materials from terrorists; and, ultimately, to free the world from the menace of a nuclear nightmare.

And it is only by building a new foundation of mutual trust that we will tackle some of our most entrenched problems. That is why, in Turkey, I spoke to members of Parliament and university students about rising above the barriers of race, region, and religion that too often divide us.

With all that is at stake today, we cannot afford to talk past one another. We can’t afford to allow old differences to prevent us from making progress in areas of common concern. We can’t afford to let walls of mistrust stand. Instead, we have to find – and build on – our mutual interests. For it is only when people come together, and seek common ground, that some of that mistrust can begin to fade. And that is where progress begins.

Make no mistake: we live in a dangerous world, and we must be strong and vigilant in the face of these threats. But let us not allow whatever differences we have with other nations to stop us from coming together around those solutions that are essential to our survival and success.

As we celebrate Passover, Easter, and this time of renewal, let’s find strength in our shared resolve and purpose in our common aspirations. And if we can do that, then not only will we fulfill the sacred meaning of these holy days, but we will fulfill the promise of our country as a leader around the world.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. L'broke

    Jones,
    Please recheck your history book. America wasn't even a country back in 1619. Back then, it was just thirteen colonies belonging to the British Empire, who were, in fact, a monarchy.

    April 11, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. Kim from Kona

    I just love this guy! The rest of the world just might like and respect us again now that he is in charge and W is out! I was so embarassed when W was Pres., now I am proud that Obama is representing us to the rest of the world. GO OBAMA!

    April 11, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. aware

    Let us find strength in God and authentic shalom!

    The failing kingdom of man with its false messiah's will in the end bow to the Kingdom of God and the resurrected Christ! :)

    April 11, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. I'm king of the world

    Here comes the one world government you've been hearing so much about. Apparently the president sees his current job as a steppingstone.

    April 11, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. Happy with new President

    To "Matthew, Detroit":
    It's gona be a very long 8 years for you with our President!
    And, this is from MI resident!
    Enjoy!!!!!!

    April 11, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. Scott AZ

    Simply amazing that 4 pirates in a non-running lifeboat can hold off the US Navy and our goverment for days nows. This smacks of Napalitano involvement and her handling of the longest prison hostage stand-off in US history.

    April 11, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. Alfred E. Neumann

    Not only can't we see the light at the end, the tunnel itself is no longer visible.

    Thank you Mr President for your best wishes but I know that I was expecting something a bit more than rhetoric.

    April 11, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. bk

    Obama got nothing on that trip. He didn't get the combat troops to help us and he didn't get them to spend like drunkin sailors like we are. They are smarter than that. Common sense tells you not to spend your country into bankruptsy. He made us look weak and foolish.

    April 11, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. Maggie

    Disillusioned; like me you know it is found in the Bible prophesy when the anti chrtist comes on the scene. I believe Obams is helping set the scen for all the things foretold in the Bible so folks the end is getting closer and closer. Lift up our heads the Bible says for Redemption draws nigh.

    April 11, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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