June 21st, 2009
01:51 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama gives exclusive interview to Pakistani media outlet

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama told a Pakistani television interview that isolating extremists is crucial for improving ties between Muslim nations and the United States.

The interview taped Friday at the White House was scheduled for broadcast on Sunday by DawnNews, which is Pakistan's first 24-hour English-language news channel. According to DawnNews, it was the first time a U.S. president granted a one-on-one interview to a Pakistani media outlet.

A report on the interview posted on the DawnNews Web site said Obama called the huge street demonstrations in Iran an indication that the announced election results there "obviously raised a lot of doubts."

"We respect Iran's sovereignty, but we also are witnessing peaceful demonstrations, people expressing themselves, and I stand for that universal principle that people should have a voice in their own lives and their own destiny," Obama said, according to Web site report. "And I hope that the international community recognizes that we need to stand behind peaceful protests and be opposed to violence or repression."

Asked about his June 4 speech in Cairo to the Muslim world, Obama called it a first step in the process of improving U.S. relations with Muslim countries.

"What we want to do is just begin to open up a dialogue around which we can constructively work together to deal with significant issues," he said, according to the DawnNews Web site. All parties must do what they can to help relations progress, the president said.

"Part of the key is also to isolate the extremists who have been wreaking havoc around the world," Obama said, later adding: "We simply want to make sure that our common enemies, which are extremists who would kill innocent civilians, that that kind of activity is stopped, and we believe that it has to be stopped whether it's in the United States or in Pakistan or anywhere in the world."

Obama said he supports the Pakistani government offensive against Taliban militants in the Swat Valley, but emphasized that was a decision by Pakistan alone. The United States has no plans to send troops into Pakistan as part of its military campaign in Afghanistan, he said, according to the DawnNews Web site.

"What the United States believes … is that we are a partner in the process of peace-loving nations seeking to root out extremism, increase development, and that is the kind of role that we want to play with Pakistan," he said.

On the India-Pakistan dispute, Obama said both countries would prosper if their differences were resolved, according to the DawnNews Web site.

"We want to be helpful in that process, but I don't think it's appropriate for us to be the mediators in that process," he said.

Filed under: Iran • Middle East • Pakistan • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Donkey Party

    The kennel doors of the RepubliCON dogs will open momentarily...

    June 21, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. GI Joe


    You think remaining diplomatically silent and then bullying everyone worked out well the past 8 years?

    June 21, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Yes, and America is in such great position to lecture others about democratic elections, especially since 2000 when the guy getting the most number of popular votes for president lost! We regularly disenfranchise millions of Americans, we have electronic voting without paper trail that counts thousands of votes for candidates before the polls even open, we have only two political parties that are allowed power in the federal government, and we have party elites deciding who gets to be nominated years before the primaries even begin! We need to clean up our own system before we go around lecturing others about democracy!

    June 21, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. Peter E

    The fruits of neglect! At the beginning of the Afghanistan war we pressed Al Quaida and Osama bin Laden into a hole. But then Bush and Cheney decided to divert our resources and fight an unjustified war in Iraq, allowing comfortable room for Al Quaida to rebuild and relocate to and destablize Pakistan! Now we have to go back and finish the job with an Al Quaida that's stronger and more dangerous than ever! Thank you Bush and Cheney! Thanks for making America sooo much safer...

    June 21, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  5. Letcommonsenseprevail

    Peaceful demonstrations? Really? Wow....wow. I don't know what else to say. I'm sure the guy with the knot on his head and the guy that was knocked out on the CNN front page might disagree.

    June 21, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. Instigator..yes..or..no..?

    With his speech in Egypt, Obama set in motion by istigating to stir-up the young people in the Muslim-Counties to stand-up and make the
    change for Obama, he is talking about..As Obama speeched during the presidental election in 2008 as well: "together we will change the world"..However, when it comes to back his rhetoric...suddenly he,Obama seems to retreat....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 21, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. Willy Brown

    Taking care of his muslim broithers.

    June 21, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. D. Tree

    A month after Obama's address in Cairo, and we've seen change in Lebanon, uprising in Iran, and villagers chasing out the Taliban in Pakistan.

    And this is the first time an American president has ever granted an exclusive with Pakistan? What took us so long???

    June 21, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  9. nota dem

    Obama Muslim interviews with muslim reporters,

    Why cant you democrates see who Obama really is, you are BLIND.

    June 21, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  10. Denna

    I love that President Obama is being pragmatic about this situation. We need to do something, but the best we can do right now is to back and encourage the people of Pakistan and other nations to fight for their rights. Unlike our former president, President Obama recognizes that we absolutely cannot dictate to other countries what their policies should be. I believe that the approach he is taking will make American safer by creating fewer enemies. We have an excellent military and I believe we can hold our own against anyone, but we have got to stop playing Big Daddy to the world. We need to be vigilant, but we need to be more concerned about our own country than other countries.

    June 21, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. Rolled-over...!

    Obama rolled-over and asked Briian Williams what to do ? Is Obama confriming certain rumors ? We hope he does not invite reporters from the Pakistani media to roll-over with...????

    June 21, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. Lynn

    That's the President of the United States...always one step ahead of the bitter Republicans and "let's drum up an imaginary controversy" media.

    If the likes of Eric Cantor or John McCain or Lindsay Graham have so much to say and so much knowledge to impart, why don't they take their warmongering, America always right message to the Muslim press!!

    June 21, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. No Hillary = No Obama

    Fools rush in where angles fear to tread. I hope Obama realizes that.

    June 21, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. annie against biased news

    'Did he apology for America again?

    June 21, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  15. Zero.

    But it is these Nations, that are the exstremists.

    June 21, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |