Dienstag, 17. Juli 2018

Remarks by President Obama at Memorial Service for Former South African President Nelson Mandela | whitehouse.gov

Remarks by President Obama at Memorial Service for Former South African President Nelson Mandela | whitehouse.gov






The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Remarks by President Obama at Memorial Service for Former South African President Nelson Mandela

First National Bank Stadium
Johannesburg, South Africa
1:31 P.M. SAST
PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  To Graça Machel and the Mandela family; to President Zuma and members of the government; to heads of states and government, past and present; distinguished guests -- it is a singular honor to be with you today, to celebrate a life like no other.  To the people of South Africa -- (applause) -- people of every race and walk of life -- the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us.  His struggle was your struggle.  His triumph was your triumph.  Your dignity and your hope found expression in his life.  And your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy.
It is hard to eulogize any man -- to capture in words not just the facts and the dates that make a life, but the essential truth of a person -- their private joys and sorrows; the quiet moments and unique qualities that illuminate someone’s soul.  How much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation toward justice, and in the process moved billions around the world.
Born during World War I, far from the corridors of power, a boy raised herding cattle and tutored by the elders of his Thembu tribe, Madiba would emerge as the last great liberator of the 20th century.  Like Gandhi, he would lead a resistance movement -- a movement that at its start had little prospect for success.  Like Dr. King, he would give potent voice to the claims of the oppressed and the moral necessity of racial justice.  He would endure a brutal imprisonment that began in the time of Kennedy and Khrushchev, and reached the final days of the Cold War.  Emerging from prison, without the force of arms, he would -- like Abraham Lincoln -- hold his country together when it threatened to break apart.  And like America’s Founding Fathers, he would erect a constitutional order to preserve freedom for future generations -- a commitment to democracy and rule of law ratified not only by his election, but by his willingness to step down from power after only one term.
Given the sweep of his life, the scope of his accomplishments, the adoration that he so rightly earned, it’s tempting I think to remember Nelson Mandela as an icon, smiling and serene, detached from the tawdry affairs of lesser men.  But Madiba himself strongly resisted such a lifeless portrait.  (Applause.)  Instead, Madiba insisted on sharing with us his doubts and his fears; his miscalculations along with his victories.  “I am not a saint,” he said, “unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”
It was precisely because he could admit to imperfection -- because he could be so full of good humor, even mischief, despite the heavy burdens he carried -- that we loved him so.  He was not a bust made of marble; he was a man of flesh and blood -- a son and a husband, a father and a friend.  And that’s why we learned so much from him, and that’s why we can learn from him still.  For nothing he achieved was inevitable.  In the arc of his life, we see a man who earned his place in history through struggle and shrewdness, and persistence and faith.  He tells us what is possible not just in the pages of history books, but in our own lives as well.
Mandela showed us the power of action; of taking risks on behalf of our ideals.  Perhaps Madiba was right that he inherited, “a proud rebelliousness, a stubborn sense of fairness” from his father.  And we know he shared with millions of black and colored South Africans the anger born of, “a thousand slights, a thousand indignities, a thousand unremembered moments…a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people,” he said.
But like other early giants of the ANC -- the Sisulus and Tambos -- Madiba disciplined his anger and channeled his desire to fight into organization, and platforms, and strategies for action, so men and women could stand up for their God-given dignity.  Moreover, he accepted the consequences of his actions, knowing that standing up to powerful interests and injustice carries a price.  “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination.  I’ve cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and [with] equal opportunities.  It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve.  But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”  (Applause.)
Mandela taught us the power of action, but he also taught us the power of ideas; the importance of reason and arguments; the need to study not only those who you agree with, but also those who you don’t agree with.  He understood that ideas cannot be contained by prison walls, or extinguished by a sniper’s bullet.  He turned his trial into an indictment of apartheid because of his eloquence and his passion, but also because of his training as an advocate.  He used decades in prison to sharpen his arguments, but also to spread his thirst for knowledge to others in the movement.  And he learned the language and the customs of his oppressor so that one day he might better convey to them how their own freedom depend upon his.  (Applause.)
Mandela demonstrated that action and ideas are not enough.  No matter how right, they must be chiseled into law and institutions.  He was practical, testing his beliefs against the hard surface of circumstance and history.  On core principles he was unyielding, which is why he could rebuff offers of unconditional release, reminding the Apartheid regime that “prisoners cannot enter into contracts.”
 But as he showed in painstaking negotiations to transfer power and draft new laws, he was not afraid to compromise for the sake of a larger goal.  And because he was not only a leader of a movement but a skillful politician, the Constitution that emerged was worthy of this multiracial democracy, true to his vision of laws that protect minority as well as majority rights, and the precious freedoms of every South African.
And finally, Mandela understood the ties that bind the human spirit.  There is a word in South Africa -- Ubuntu -- (applause) -- a word that captures Mandela’s greatest gift:  his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that are invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.
We can never know how much of this sense was innate in him, or how much was shaped in a dark and solitary cell.  But we remember the gestures, large and small -- introducing his jailers as honored guests at his inauguration; taking a pitch in a Springbok uniform; turning his family’s heartbreak into a call to confront HIV/AIDS -- that revealed the depth of his empathy and his understanding.  He not only embodied Ubuntu, he taught millions to find that truth within themselves. 
It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailer as well -- (applause) -- to show that you must trust others so that they may trust you; to teach that reconciliation is not a matter of ignoring a cruel past, but a means of confronting it with inclusion and generosity and truth.  He changed laws, but he also changed hearts.
For the people of South Africa, for those he inspired around the globe, Madiba’s passing is rightly a time of mourning, and a time to celebrate a heroic life.  But I believe it should also prompt in each of us a time for self-reflection.  With honesty, regardless of our station or our circumstance, we must ask:  How well have I applied his lessons in my own life?  It’s a question I ask myself, as a man and as a President. 
We know that, like South Africa, the United States had to overcome centuries of racial subjugation.  As was true here, it took sacrifice -- the sacrifice of countless people, known and unknown, to see the dawn of a new day.  Michelle and I are beneficiaries of that struggle.  (Applause.)  But in America, and in South Africa, and in countries all around the globe, we cannot allow our progress to cloud the fact that our work is not yet done. 
The struggles that follow the victory of formal equality or universal franchise may not be as filled with drama and moral clarity as those that came before, but they are no less important.  For around the world today, we still see children suffering from hunger and disease.  We still see run-down schools.  We still see young people without prospects for the future.  Around the world today, men and women are still imprisoned for their political beliefs, and are still persecuted for what they look like, and how they worship, and who they love.  That is happening today.  (Applause.)
And so we, too, must act on behalf of justice.  We, too, must act on behalf of peace.  There are too many people who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality.  There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people.  (Applause.)  And there are too many of us on the sidelines, comfortable in complacency or cynicism when our voices must be heard.
The questions we face today -- how to promote equality and justice; how to uphold freedom and human rights; how to end conflict and sectarian war -- these things do not have easy answers.  But there were no easy answers in front of that child born in World War I.  Nelson Mandela reminds us that it always seems impossible until it is done.  South Africa shows that is true.  South Africa shows we can change, that we can choose a world defined not by our differences, but by our common hopes.  We can choose a world defined not by conflict, but by peace and justice and opportunity.
We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again.  But let me say to the young people of Africa and the young people around the world -- you, too, can make his life’s work your own.  Over 30 years ago, while still a student, I learned of Nelson Mandela and the struggles taking place in this beautiful land, and it stirred something in me.  It woke me up to my responsibilities to others and to myself, and it set me on an improbable journey that finds me here today.  And while I will always fall short of Madiba’s example, he makes me want to be a better man.  (Applause.)  He speaks to what’s best inside us.
After this great liberator is laid to rest, and when we have returned to our cities and villages and rejoined our daily routines, let us search for his strength.  Let us search for his largeness of spirit somewhere inside of ourselves.  And when the night grows dark, when injustice weighs heavy on our hearts, when our best-laid plans seem beyond our reach, let us think of Madiba and the words that brought him comfort within the four walls of his cell:  “It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”
What a magnificent soul it was.  We will miss him deeply.  May God bless the memory of Nelson Mandela.  May God bless the people of South Africa.  (Applause.)
END
1:50 P.M. SAST

Remarks by President Obama at Memorial Service for Former South African President Nelson Mandela | whitehouse.gov

Remarks by President Obama at Memorial Service for Former South African President Nelson Mandela | whitehouse.gov



The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Remarks by President Obama at Memorial Service for Former South African President Nelson Mandela

First National Bank Stadium
Johannesburg, South Africa
1:31 P.M. SAST
PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Thank you.  To Graça Machel and the Mandela family; to President Zuma and members of the government; to heads of states and government, past and present; distinguished guests -- it is a singular honor to be with you today, to celebrate a life like no other.  To the people of South Africa -- (applause) -- people of every race and walk of life -- the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us.  His struggle was your struggle.  His triumph was your triumph.  Your dignity and your hope found expression in his life.  And your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy.
It is hard to eulogize any man -- to capture in words not just the facts and the dates that make a life, but the essential truth of a person -- their private joys and sorrows; the quiet moments and unique qualities that illuminate someone’s soul.  How much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation toward justice, and in the process moved billions around the world.
Born during World War I, far from the corridors of power, a boy raised herding cattle and tutored by the elders of his Thembu tribe, Madiba would emerge as the last great liberator of the 20th century.  Like Gandhi, he would lead a resistance movement -- a movement that at its start had little prospect for success.  Like Dr. King, he would give potent voice to the claims of the oppressed and the moral necessity of racial justice.  He would endure a brutal imprisonment that began in the time of Kennedy and Khrushchev, and reached the final days of the Cold War.  Emerging from prison, without the force of arms, he would -- like Abraham Lincoln -- hold his country together when it threatened to break apart.  And like America’s Founding Fathers, he would erect a constitutional order to preserve freedom for future generations -- a commitment to democracy and rule of law ratified not only by his election, but by his willingness to step down from power after only one term.
Given the sweep of his life, the scope of his accomplishments, the adoration that he so rightly earned, it’s tempting I think to remember Nelson Mandela as an icon, smiling and serene, detached from the tawdry affairs of lesser men.  But Madiba himself strongly resisted such a lifeless portrait.  (Applause.)  Instead, Madiba insisted on sharing with us his doubts and his fears; his miscalculations along with his victories.  “I am not a saint,” he said, “unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”
It was precisely because he could admit to imperfection -- because he could be so full of good humor, even mischief, despite the heavy burdens he carried -- that we loved him so.  He was not a bust made of marble; he was a man of flesh and blood -- a son and a husband, a father and a friend.  And that’s why we learned so much from him, and that’s why we can learn from him still.  For nothing he achieved was inevitable.  In the arc of his life, we see a man who earned his place in history through struggle and shrewdness, and persistence and faith.  He tells us what is possible not just in the pages of history books, but in our own lives as well.
Mandela showed us the power of action; of taking risks on behalf of our ideals.  Perhaps Madiba was right that he inherited, “a proud rebelliousness, a stubborn sense of fairness” from his father.  And we know he shared with millions of black and colored South Africans the anger born of, “a thousand slights, a thousand indignities, a thousand unremembered moments…a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people,” he said.
But like other early giants of the ANC -- the Sisulus and Tambos -- Madiba disciplined his anger and channeled his desire to fight into organization, and platforms, and strategies for action, so men and women could stand up for their God-given dignity.  Moreover, he accepted the consequences of his actions, knowing that standing up to powerful interests and injustice carries a price.  “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination.  I’ve cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and [with] equal opportunities.  It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve.  But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”  (Applause.)
Mandela taught us the power of action, but he also taught us the power of ideas; the importance of reason and arguments; the need to study not only those who you agree with, but also those who you don’t agree with.  He understood that ideas cannot be contained by prison walls, or extinguished by a sniper’s bullet.  He turned his trial into an indictment of apartheid because of his eloquence and his passion, but also because of his training as an advocate.  He used decades in prison to sharpen his arguments, but also to spread his thirst for knowledge to others in the movement.  And he learned the language and the customs of his oppressor so that one day he might better convey to them how their own freedom depend upon his.  (Applause.)
Mandela demonstrated that action and ideas are not enough.  No matter how right, they must be chiseled into law and institutions.  He was practical, testing his beliefs against the hard surface of circumstance and history.  On core principles he was unyielding, which is why he could rebuff offers of unconditional release, reminding the Apartheid regime that “prisoners cannot enter into contracts.”
 But as he showed in painstaking negotiations to transfer power and draft new laws, he was not afraid to compromise for the sake of a larger goal.  And because he was not only a leader of a movement but a skillful politician, the Constitution that emerged was worthy of this multiracial democracy, true to his vision of laws that protect minority as well as majority rights, and the precious freedoms of every South African.
And finally, Mandela understood the ties that bind the human spirit.  There is a word in South Africa -- Ubuntu -- (applause) -- a word that captures Mandela’s greatest gift:  his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that are invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.
We can never know how much of this sense was innate in him, or how much was shaped in a dark and solitary cell.  But we remember the gestures, large and small -- introducing his jailers as honored guests at his inauguration; taking a pitch in a Springbok uniform; turning his family’s heartbreak into a call to confront HIV/AIDS -- that revealed the depth of his empathy and his understanding.  He not only embodied Ubuntu, he taught millions to find that truth within themselves. 
It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailer as well -- (applause) -- to show that you must trust others so that they may trust you; to teach that reconciliation is not a matter of ignoring a cruel past, but a means of confronting it with inclusion and generosity and truth.  He changed laws, but he also changed hearts.
For the people of South Africa, for those he inspired around the globe, Madiba’s passing is rightly a time of mourning, and a time to celebrate a heroic life.  But I believe it should also prompt in each of us a time for self-reflection.  With honesty, regardless of our station or our circumstance, we must ask:  How well have I applied his lessons in my own life?  It’s a question I ask myself, as a man and as a President. 
We know that, like South Africa, the United States had to overcome centuries of racial subjugation.  As was true here, it took sacrifice -- the sacrifice of countless people, known and unknown, to see the dawn of a new day.  Michelle and I are beneficiaries of that struggle.  (Applause.)  But in America, and in South Africa, and in countries all around the globe, we cannot allow our progress to cloud the fact that our work is not yet done. 
The struggles that follow the victory of formal equality or universal franchise may not be as filled with drama and moral clarity as those that came before, but they are no less important.  For around the world today, we still see children suffering from hunger and disease.  We still see run-down schools.  We still see young people without prospects for the future.  Around the world today, men and women are still imprisoned for their political beliefs, and are still persecuted for what they look like, and how they worship, and who they love.  That is happening today.  (Applause.)
And so we, too, must act on behalf of justice.  We, too, must act on behalf of peace.  There are too many people who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality.  There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people.  (Applause.)  And there are too many of us on the sidelines, comfortable in complacency or cynicism when our voices must be heard.
The questions we face today -- how to promote equality and justice; how to uphold freedom and human rights; how to end conflict and sectarian war -- these things do not have easy answers.  But there were no easy answers in front of that child born in World War I.  Nelson Mandela reminds us that it always seems impossible until it is done.  South Africa shows that is true.  South Africa shows we can change, that we can choose a world defined not by our differences, but by our common hopes.  We can choose a world defined not by conflict, but by peace and justice and opportunity.
We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again.  But let me say to the young people of Africa and the young people around the world -- you, too, can make his life’s work your own.  Over 30 years ago, while still a student, I learned of Nelson Mandela and the struggles taking place in this beautiful land, and it stirred something in me.  It woke me up to my responsibilities to others and to myself, and it set me on an improbable journey that finds me here today.  And while I will always fall short of Madiba’s example, he makes me want to be a better man.  (Applause.)  He speaks to what’s best inside us.
After this great liberator is laid to rest, and when we have returned to our cities and villages and rejoined our daily routines, let us search for his strength.  Let us search for his largeness of spirit somewhere inside of ourselves.  And when the night grows dark, when injustice weighs heavy on our hearts, when our best-laid plans seem beyond our reach, let us think of Madiba and the words that brought him comfort within the four walls of his cell:  “It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”
What a magnificent soul it was.  We will miss him deeply.  May God bless the memory of Nelson Mandela.  May God bless the people of South Africa.  (Applause.)
END
1:50 P.M. SAST

Press Gaggle by Jay Carney and Ben Rhodes aboard AF1 en route Johannesburg, South Africa | whitehouse.gov

Press Gaggle by Jay Carney and Ben Rhodes aboard AF1 en route Johannesburg, South Africa | whitehouse.gov



The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Press Gaggle by Jay Carney and Ben Rhodes aboard AF1 en route Johannesburg, South Africa

Aboard Air Force One
En Route Johannesburg, South Africa
10:06 A.M. EST
 
MR. CARNEY:  Good morning, everyone.  Thank you for joining us onboard this pretty remarkable flight to South Africa.  As you know, in addition to the President and the First Lady, we have former President Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush onboard.  We also have former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  In addition, from the President’s administration, we have National Security Advisor Susan Rice and the Attorney General, Eric Holder. 
 
Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications is with us today, and he can give you some information about a bunch of (inaudible) when we get to the Johannesburg.  And we will obviously keep you updated as developments require along the way. 
 
With that, I turn it over to Ben. 
 
MR. RHODES:  I won’t add much to what Jay said other than we’ll let the South African government speak to the details of the program.  We do expect President Obama to speak as part of the program.  So again, they’ll have the full run of show.  But in terms of the President’s participation, we do expect him to deliver remarks.
 
And with that, we’ll take questions.
 
Q    But do you guys have any plans for Obama to meet with members of the Mandela family or any of the other world leaders who might be there?
 
MR. RHODES:  We’ve been in touch with the Mandela family and are seeking to see if there is time for them to meet.  Unfortunately, we don’t know for certain because things are so fluid on the ground.  But we would certainly like the opportunity for the President to pay his respects to Graça Machel and the broader Mandela family.  Beyond that, we don’t expect any bilateral meetings of any sort.  I presume that he will certainly see President Zuma, have a chance to speak to him, but not in any kind of formal way.
 
Q    Is there any possibility the President might meet with the Iranian President while there?  Apparently, they were trying to work out Rouhani’s visit.
 
MR. RHODES:  I wouldn’t expect any -- first of all, any bilateral meetings.  I’m not even so sure who’s going for the Iranians.  But we’re not anticipating any meeting.
 
Q    Can talk with us a little bit about whether what the U.S. delegation is for this part of the memorial service, and also whether there will be a formal U.S. delegation on the 15th, and who some of those people will be?  Normally, there would be a bigger delegation on this flight; I know it’s size-limited.
 
MR. RHODES:  Yes, well, look, we’ve really been driven in our decision-making by the wishes of the South African government.  Obviously, there are enormous amounts of people in the United States who would like to pay their respects to Nelson Mandela.  So again, at the same time, they have very strict space requirements.  I think they are certainly accommodating to heads of state, former heads of state, which is what compromises principally our delegation.  But I think their indication is that they wanted this to be an opportunity for the people of South Africa really to say goodbye to Nelson Mandela, and we’re very respectful of that.
 
So obviously, under different circumstances we could have brought any number of people as part of a delegation.  That was not possible given the logistics of this particular event.  However, I do expect that there will be representatives for the President in the delegation at the event in Qunu.  We'll keep you updated as to who will compromise that delegation.  There's also going to be an event in Washington at the National Cathedral that people will be able to participate in. 
 
And then, in terms of this event, I believe there's also a congressional delegation that we've sought to coordinate with so we can provide them with support.  So for us it's the President and the First Lady, the Attorney General, Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett, former President Bush and Laura Bush, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton.  I know President Carter is going with The Elders group that he is a part of that of course Nelson Mandela and Graça Machel have been affiliated with as well.  And then there will be the members of Congress who are going as a part of their congressional delegation.  And then we'll keep you updated about Qunu.
 
Q    Did you guys have any thought about going to the Qunu ceremony, or was that just logistically not possible?
 
MR. RHODES:  Yes, I think, first of all, our understanding from the South African government was many heads of state who are attending this event at the stadium.  And, secondly, when we had looked at this, Qunu does present challenges.  And, frankly, it’s always a balance; we don't want to be disruptive with the footprint that travels with the President.  We want to be respectful of what will be a very profound laying to rest of Nelson Mandela.  So this certainly was the right event for the President to attend, to speak at, and to pay his respects to Nelson Mandela. 
 
Q    Are there any concerns about security at this event?
 
MR. RHODES:  We have not heard any concerns.  I'd say, number one, the South Africans hosted the World Cup, so they have experience hosting significant crowds and managing events like this.  Although, this is obviously a very unique event really in world history, given the number of leaders coming to pay their respects, as well as the people of South Africa.
 
But we’re in good touch with the South African government at a logistical level, and we’re confident in their ability to make sure that this is an appropriate sendoff for one of the truly extraordinary statesmen of the last century or of any time.
Q    In general, what’s the President going to say, and how long will he speak?
 
MR. RHODES:  I’d anticipate -- I don’t put an exact time on it, but in the 10-15 minute range.  And I think, for the President, he’ll reflect on what Nelson Mandela meant to the people of South Africa, to him personally as well. 
 
You’ve heard him speak in the past about Nelson Mandela and the impact he had on the President.  I think also, though, remembering the various different roles that Nelson Mandela played over the years.  He obviously is cemented in our memory as an icon, but he was an extraordinary political leader, an extraordinary leader of a movement to bring about change.  Under very difficult circumstances he was an extraordinary example to the world when he was in prison.  And then, of course, even in his post-presidency he was a figure of reconciliation not just in South Africa, but around the world.
 
I think remembering him as a truly multifaceted figure with a wide array of different skills and abilities reminds us that his success wasn’t preordained -- it had to be earned over a lifetime.  Sometimes when you look back, when the story has a happy ending, it all seems as if it was meant to be.  I think one of the points the President will make is that it took decades of persistence and talent and a wide range of very unique skills to make Nelson Mandela the figure that he was and make him capable of bringing about that change.
 
Q    But had he been working on this speech before?  I mean, this is kind of something we knew was coming.  Or is this something he’s put together just in the past couple of days?
 
MR. RHODES:  No, we actually have not.  We had not done any work on this particular speech before the passing of Nelson Mandela.  At the same time, he has reflected on him many times.  He wrote a forward for his book, "Conversations with Myself."  On our last trip to South Africa, he obviously spoke frequently about Mandela over the course of that trip.  He was able to go to Robben Island, which was a very powerful experience for him to stand in that cell again. 
 
But in terms of this particular set of remarks, we waited until we had an indication from the South African government that he may speak, and then he has been working on it over the weekend.  And I'm sure he'll continue to work on it on the plane.
 
Q    Ben, can you detail the most recent contacts between the Presidents -- between Mandela and President Obama -- and how substantive they were?
 
MR. RHODES:  I'd have to check on the absolutely most recent one.  I recall him speaking to Nelson Mandela after the death of his grandson, around the time of the World Cup.  But I'll have to check if there were any calls since then.
 
I think that, generally, when they did speak, since the President took office, they didn't delve deeply into substantive -- more dealt with how each of them were doing, asking after Nelson Mandela's health and family.  And I'd also note that the President was grateful that the First Lady and his daughters were able to see Nelson Mandela, even very late in his life.  So I'll check the most recent contact, but I think in addition to the occasional phone call, I know that visit was meaningful for the First Lady and the Obama family.
 
Q    What was his most recent contact with anybody from the Mandela family?  Can you describe that?
 
MR. RHODES:  Yes, he spoke to Graça Machel, Nelson Mandela's wife, the other day -- I believe the day after Nelson Mandela passed -- and just said that his prayers were with her, that he hoped to see her at this event or any time she is in Washington.  And, frankly, she is an extraordinary figure in her own right, and so he thanked her for all that she did to make the last years of Nelson Mandela's life a time of comfort.
 
On our last trip here to South Africa, the President was able to meet with a broader number of members of the family, including some of the daughters and grandchildren of Nelson Mandela at the Foundation.  So I would anticipate similarly, if he has time with the family on this trip, he'd want to see both Graça Machel and of course some of the other members of the family.
 
Q    Can either of you guys give us any kind of color or kind of paint a picture about what's going on back there with the former President and former First Lady, the former Secretary of State?
 
MR. RHODES:  I'll just say that I know that the President has been able already to spend time with the Bushes.  The President and the First Lady have been able to spend time with the Bushes and with Secretary Clinton.  And so I think it's a unique experience obviously.  And I think they all are remembering their different interactions with Nelson Mandela and his family, because again, he is a leader that intersected with so many different American political leaders of both parties over the years, and so each of them has their own experience with Mandela.  
 
MR. CARNEY:  I would just add that that in the conference room, which I think most of you have seen, the Secretary, President and Mrs. Bush, the First Lady, and President Obama, as he comes and goes -- because he’s also in this office doing some work -- there have been very good conversations in that room.  Attorney General Holder as well, Valerie Jarrett, Susan Rice.
 
Q    So they’re all in the conference room?
 
MR. CARNEY:  That’s not where they’re all sitting for the flight, but people have kind of congregated there.  And I think it's just -- it's a very I think enjoyable experience certainly for the President and First Lady.  And they're both grateful to be able to have former President and First Lady, former Secretary of State on board.
 
Q    Ben, can I ask you a quick question on another subject?  Prime Minister Netanyahu’s comments to that same conference where President Obama spoke, talking about the need to press forward with new sanctions on Iran -- were you disappointed in those remarks?  And do you feel that if those remarks are directed at the U.S. Congress, that that’s him trying to inject himself into the American political system?
 
MR. RHODES:  Well, first of all, as a general matter, I thought Prime Minister Netanyahu indicated that the U.S. and Israel could work through the differences we’ve had on the Iranian nuclear negotiations as friends, and focus on the final agreement and what we are seeking to achieve in that agreement.  So I thought there were certainly constructive elements of his remarks that sought to reinforce that there’s far more that unites the United States and Israel on this and other issues than whatever tactical differences we may have had.
 
With respect to sanctions, we have repeatedly said that we would move to sanctions if the Iranians violate the terms of the agreement or if we’re not able to reach a comprehensive resolution.  At the same time, sanctions during the course of the negotiations would be seriously counterproductive.  It could unravel the unity of the P5-plus-1 partners that is so necessary to trying to achieve the deal that we want.  It could complicate Iran’s participation in those negotiations by reinforcing some of the more hardline elements of their system.  And frankly, it could ultimately undermine the sanctions regime itself, because the purpose of sanctions was to reinforce a negotiation.  We’re in that negotiation now.  We have an opportunity to resolve this issue peacefully. 
 
If the U.S. is seen as not pursuing that negotiation in concert with our partners, ultimately the participation that we need from other countries in the sanctions regime to continue reducing their purchases of Iranian oil and continue to work with us to apply this pressure could be put at risk.  And I think it’s important to remember that it’s not just unilateral U.S. sanctions that have had the impact on the Iranians; it’s the ability of the entire world to come with us in imposing this pressure.
 
And I think it’s also -- the last point I’d make is we are going to continue enforcing sanctions throughout the course of the negotiation.  So Iran will be denied far more revenue over the course of six months than they are going to achieve through the limited relief that we’re talking about.  So we don’t think there’s a need to move to new sanctions now.  We’ll pivot to new sanctions if the negotiations don’t succeed, but now is the time to test whether a peaceful diplomatic solution is possible.
 
Q    And just to follow up, is your position the same with respect to triggered sanctions that either would kick in at a date certain or kick in if there was some abrogation of the six-month agreement?
 
MR. RHODES:  Yes, we are confident in Congress’s ability to move quickly to pass a sanctions bill should the Iranians violate the terms of the agreement or should we not get an agreement at the end of the day.  So therefore, I think we want to coordinate with them to move to sanctions at that point.
 
The other thing I’d say about that is we will have more leverage on the Iranians with the international community to move to sanctions if the Iranians violate the agreement or if they can’t get to yes at the end of six months.  So at that point, not only could we work with Congress to get a new sanctions product passed, but we could do so in a way that’s coordinated with the international community, which would ultimately be more effective.
 
So tailoring that sanctions strategy around the negotiation both gives diplomacy a chance to succeed, or it could allow for a more effective application of sanctions.
 
And the last thing I’d say about this is, this is the venue for diplomacy.  There’s not another alternative course of action at some point where we’re going to pursue a diplomatic resolution with the Iranians.  This P5-plus-1 process is a negotiation.  It’s more serious than it’s ever been, and we have to be I think serious about testing whether we can resolve this issue peacefully.  And that’s what the sanctions have put us in a position to do, but at the same time we don’t want to do anything that would foreclose our opportunity to resolve this peacefully through diplomacy. 
 
Q    Ben, on that same conference, the President and John Kerry spoke about the security guarantees that Israel could expect under any final deal.  The Palestinians today have said that the kind of things that are being talked about would be a dead end and could kill the process.  How concerned are you that the stringent measures that Israel would expect would be impossible for the Palestinians to accept in any kind of meaningful state?
 
MR. RHODES:  I think, first of all, we’ve always been very clear that any agreement is going to have to take into account Israel’s security concerns.  And so that’s why General Allen worked in a very methodical way to lay out planning that could be associated with any agreement.  I think as a general matter, ultimately an agreement is going to have to address the concerns of both sides, and both parties are going to have to agree amongst themselves.  I think dealing with it comprehensively, however, if the Palestinians feel like they are having a legitimate state of their own with the type of territory and contiguity that they’re interested in, seeing security as part of that package is different than security independent of that package.
 
And so that’s why we want both parties to get to all the final status issues as part of a discussion of an agreement.  But ultimately, there’s no agreement that is going to be successful and that is going to be reached unless Israel knows its security concerns are met, and that’s why we initiated the process with General Allen.
 
Q    Jay, do you want to comment on the status of budget negotiations in Congress?  Any thoughts about not repealing the sequester?
 
MR. CARNEY:  Any thoughts on what?
 
Q    Them not fully repealing the sequester, with what’s being leaked out over the weekend?
 
MR. CARNEY:  I’m not going to get ahead of the negotiations or comment on reports about what that status is, except to say that it is certainly the President’s position that Republicans and Democrats ought to be able to come together through regular order to reach a budget agreement to make sure that we’re making the necessary investments to help our economy grow, that we’re dealing with some of the across-the-board cuts that have done harm to our economy and harm to the functioning of our government, and to avoid the kind of scenario that led to a shutdown of government in October and to the threat to default for the first time in history.
 
But we remain hopeful that these discussions, these negotiations will be productive and bear fruit.
 
Q    Any thought of rescheduling the congressional and White House holiday balls, since the President won’t be there?
 
MR. CARNEY:  No, my understanding is that in consultation with congressional leadership, the decision was for the congressional balls -- or congressional parties to go forward and as well as the other events, including some White House staff -- or at least one White House staff event without the President and First Lady.  And so that’s going to happen.
   
END
10:27 A.M. EST

Montag, 16. Juli 2018

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Remarks by President Obama and Archbishop Tutu After Roundtable Discussion | whitehouse.gov

Remarks by President Obama and Archbishop Tutu After Roundtable Discussion | whitehouse.gov



The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Remarks by President Obama and Archbishop Tutu After Roundtable Discussion

5:05 P.M. SAST
 THE PRESIDENT:  It is a great pleasure to be here at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation Youth Center.  It is appropriately named after somebody who has done heroic work not only on behalf of peace and justice, and the ending of Apartheid, but also who very early on took on the challenge of HIV/AIDS here in South Africa and around the world.  And so I’m so proud to be with my friend again --
ARCHBISHOP TUTU:  Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT:  -- who is an unrelenting champion of justice and human dignity.
South Africa obviously has faced a heavy burden from HIV as well as other diseases -- Tuberculosis, most recently.  But the great news is that South Africa is now leading the way in caring for its citizens, in paving the way for a brighter future for the South African people and their families, and I am very proud the United States has been such a terrific partner on this issue.
I was hearing stories from all these incredible folks -- some of whom are counselors and outreach workers, some of whom have struggled with HIV/AIDS themselves -- and the great news is that, in part because of leadership from people like Archbishop Tutu but also because of the great work of nurses like Sister Iris, or young people like Mbulelo, and wonderful counselors like Lindiwe, what we’ve seen is a reduction of the stigma around testing on HIV/AIDS, greater education around prevention, and what we’ve seen is treatment that allows people to manage HIV and live long and productive lives. 
And a lot of that has to do with the terrific work of the South African people, but the United States has really done wonderful work through the PEPFAR program, started under my predecessor, President Bush, and continued through our administration.  We’ve seen more than $3.7 billion in supporting South Africa’s efforts to combat HIV and AIDS. 
Together, we’re investing in building South Africa’s capacity to manage a national response to HIV/AIDS.  The South African government is showing leadership up and down the line, and the health minister here has talked about all the initiatives that are taking place.  And this center is a wonderful example of that transition.  It’s moving from receiving U.S. government support through PEPFAR to now independent funding that continues to secure the health and success of Africa’s next generation. 
And part of what makes this center so successful is it combines not just health advice and testing, and counseling, but it also provides educational opportunities, sports activities, recreational activities so that young people are able to come here without the fear of stigma or potentially running into their parents, and getting honest, smart advice about what they need to do to keep themselves healthy and to ensure that they are not infected by HIV/AIDS.
So because of the wonderful work that’s being done on the ground, because of the partnership between the United States and South Africa -- a model, by the way, that has been duplicated across the continent -- we have the possibility of achieving an AIDS-free generation -- achieving an AIDS-free generation and making sure that everybody in our human family is able to enjoy their lives and raise families, and succeed in maintaining their health here in Africa and around the world.
So I just want to say thank you to all of you for sharing your stories with me.  I want to give a special thanks to Ambassador Eric Goosby, who doesn’t always get a lot of attention but has been an outstanding leader on behalf of our global AIDS efforts.  And if it weren’t for people like Eric as well as the people around this room, we’d be far, far behind, and a lot more people would be suffering tragedy.  So thank you all. 
And Archbishop Desmond Tutu needs to say something because his picture is over there.  (Laughter.)  His name is on the project.  I think it’s fair to say that --
ARCHBISHOP TUTU:  Yes, I should have said this earlier but then I -- anytime is okay.  It is a very big honor to welcome the President of the United States, even at such a somber time for us South Africans.
It is a special joy to welcome the President to Africa, the continent of his forbearers, the cradle of humanity.  I don’t have to compete against your beautiful Michelle doing pushups in public.  (Laughter.)
Mr. President, when you became the first black incumbent of the White House, you don’t know what you did for our psyches.  My wife sat in front of the TV with tears running down her face as she watched the celebration with you in Chicago.  You won.  And we won.  And you repeated the feat when the odds were stacked against you.  So welcome home, even if you’re about to go.  (Laughter.) 
Thank you and the American people.  You heard everyone here thanking you so much for the contribution that the PEPFAR fund has made in our struggle against TB, HIV, and AIDS, and malaria -- not just here, but in other parts of Africa.  Our center, as you have heard, is run by the HIV center of the university where you are going just now.  You have funded us.  You funded funding a center in the University of Stellenbosch TB Center.  And we have just rejoiced to hear of the HIV infections in infants has dropped by a whopping 63 percent -- in very large measure due to the financial support that we have received from yourselves.  So thank you.
As you have been here before -- I mean Africa -- you have heard us speak of something called Ubuntu -- Ubuntu -- and we’ve said a person is a person to other persons.  Your success is our success.  Your failure, whether you like it or not, is our failure.  (Laughter.) 
And so we want to assure you that we pray for you to be a great success.  We want you to be known as having brought peace to the world, especially to have brought an end to the anguish of all in the Middle East.  We pray that you will be known as having brought peace in all of these places where there is strife.  You will have brought peace and no more need for Guantanamo Bay Detention Center.  You have brought peace and we mourn the weeping as we do for the anguish of our sisters and brothers in the Middle East.  We are bound to you.  You belong to us.  And your victory is our victory.
So thank you.

END       5:16 P.M. SAST