Obama, Francis Find Common Ground _ And Divisions

The gaps were evident in the differing accounts Obama and the Vatican gave of the meeting, with Obama stressing the two leaders’ common ground on fighting inequality and poverty while Vatican officials emphasized the importance to the church of “rights to religious freedom, life and conscientious objection.” That point by church officials referred to a major disagreement over a provision of Obama’s health care law. The meeting inside the grand headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church marked a symbolic high point of Obama’s three-country visit to Europe. For a president whose approval ratings have slipped since winning re-election, it was also an opportunity to link himself to the hugely popular pope and his focus on fighting poverty. “Those of us as politicians have the task of trying to come up with policies to address issues,” Obama said following the meeting. “But His Holiness has the capacity to open people’s eyes and make sure they’re seeing that this is an issue.” The president said the plight of the poor and marginalized was a central topic in their talks, along with Middle East peace, conflicts in Syria and the treatment of Christians around the world.
Source: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/white-house-notebook-obama-meets-holiness-23082253

Obama meets with Saudi king to reassure key ally

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Obama warns against over-promising on Ukraine response

IMF steps in “There are ways for us to hopefully influence Russian decision-making and one of the most important things we can do on that front is make sure that the Ukrainian government is stable, that its finances are stable, and their elections go forward as currently scheduled,” Obama said, adding that “we are going to have to put a lot of resources and a lot of effort” to make all that happen. What is Russia’s next move? Senator: Sanctions won’t curb Putin President Obama meets the Pope While Renzi and other European leaders have pledged a unified response to any further Russian expansion efforts, questions remain about whether Germany, Britain and other nations with significant economic ties to Russia would join in threatened sanctions targeting major sectors of the Russian economy. The Obama administration has made the threat of such escalating sanctions the centerpiece of its efforts to get Russia to draw down tens of thousands of troops near the Ukraine border and negotiate with Kiev on territorial issues and ensuring the rights of ethnic Russians in Ukraine. Obama acknowledged Thursday that expanding sanctions to target Russia’s financial services, energy, mining, defense and engineering industries would impact U.S. and European companies that do business with Russia in the connected global economy.
Source: http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/27/politics/obama-europe/index.html

Obama May Allow Air Defense Help For Syria Rebels

While Mr. Obama and Pope Francis’ predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI , had a cool relationship, the White House was hoping for better chemistry between the president and the first pope from the developing world. Mr. Obama, who arrived in Italy on Wednesday night, has tried to highlight the similarities in his policy agenda and Pope Francis’ strong antipoverty message, even quoting the pontiff in his speech on economic inequality. Pope Replaces ‘Bishop of Bling’ Pope Francis accepted the resignation of a senior German cleric dubbed the “Bishop of Bling” for spending $42.7 million on redoing his official residence. The lift that a nod from Pope Francis could give Mr.
Source: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304688104579464884228860904

Obama meets Pope to discuss inequality

21, 2013. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) A Syrian military soldier holds his AK-47 with a sticker of Syrian President Bashar Assad as he stands guard at a check point on Baghdad street, in Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) A Syrian military soldier holds his AK-47 with a sticker of Syrian President Bashar Assad and Arabic that reads, “Syria is fine,” as he stands guard at a check point on Baghdad street, in Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013.
Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/28/obama-syria_n_5050116.html

Obama Invites Pope Francis to Visit the US

Its the lack of empathy that makes it very easy for us to plunge into wars. Its the lack of empathy that allows us to ignore the homeless on the streets. Obviously, central to my Christian faith is a belief in treating others as I would have them treat me. What I think has created so much love and excitement for his Holiness has been that he seems to live this and shows that joy continuously, added Obama. The president said they did not discuss social schisms, explaining, I think his Holiness and the Vatican have been clear about their position on a range of issues. Some of them I differ with. Most I hardly agree with. Asked about their relationship going forward, the president said: I dont think that his Holiness envisions entering into a partnership of coalition with any political figure on any issue.
Source: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2014/03/obama-invites-pope-francis-to-visit-the-u-s/

Obama: Pope may be ‘uncomfortable’ with opulence

Ever since Washington withdrew support for President (Hosni) Mubarak of Egypt in 2011, Abdullah and other Gulf leaders have worried about the reliability of Washingtons posture toward even longstanding allies, Henderson wrote this week. President Obamas U-turn on military action against Syria over its use of chemical weapons last summer only added to the concern, which has likely morphed into exasperation after recent events in Crimea, where the Saudis judge that President Obama was outmaneuvered by Vladimir Putin. The technological advances that have increased oil and gas production in the United States have also made Gulf states nervous, said Tamara Cofman Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and director of its Saban Center on Middle East Policy A lot of people in the region, I think, are naturally asking themselves what Americas energy independence means for Americas willingness to invest in the security of energy and supply from the Gulf, she said. Fridays talks also come in the aftermath of Saudi Arabias refusal to grant a visa to the Washington bureau chief of The Jerusalem Post who had sought to cover Obamas trip. Rhodes told reporters that the U.S. government reached out to Riyadh to intervene but to no avail.
Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/obama-in-saudi-arabia-to-reassure-key-gulf-ally/2014/03/28/1d2a1e76-b683-11e3-9eb3-c254bdb4414d_story.html

Obama and Pope Francis Meet in Rome

Obama told Francis he was a “great admirer” at the start of their talks at the Vatican, which political observers said could be a bid to boost the US president’s support at home among Catholic voters. The closed-door talks between the first African-American US president and the first pope from Latin America lasted around 50 minutes — slightly longer than papal meetings with other world leaders. The White House said Obama had been hoping to speak to Francis about their “shared commitment to fighting growing inequality” as well as the Middle East peace process, the environment and immigration reform. The two exchanged gifts afterwards, with the pope offering Obama a copy of his “apostolic exhortation” from last year in which he excoriated global capitalism and also reiterated his firm opposition to abortion. “I actually will probably read this in the Oval Office when I’m deeply frustrated.
Source: http://news.yahoo.com/obama-meet-inspiration-pope-discuss-inequality-091406584.html

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