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Obama tells N Korea to meet international obligations


Updated: February 13, 2013, 1:29 PM IST
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Obama tells N Korea to meet international obligations
Obama said the US would help countries to fight terrorism, and join its allies in eradication of global poverty.

Washington: US President Barack Obama today warned both North Korea and Iran to meet the international obligations regarding their controversial nuclear programme or else face isolation and action. In his first State of the Union Address of his second term, Obama termed the nuclear explosion of North Korea as "provocative" and vowed to take "firm action" against Pyongyang.

"The regime in North Korea must know that they will only achieve security and prosperity by meeting their international obligations. Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only isolate them further, as we stand by our allies, strengthen our own missile defense, and lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats," he said.

He also told Iranian leaders it was time to end the standoff over Tehran's nuclear programme, saying the diplomatic option for Islamic republic is still open.

"The leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution, because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon," he said.

"At the same time, we will engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals, and continue leading the global effort to secure nuclear materials that could fall into the wrong hands because our ability to influence others depends on our willingness to lead," Obama said.

Obama said the US under him would help countries to fight terrorism, and would join its allies in eradication of global poverty.

"Today the organisation that attacked us on 9/11 is a shadow of its former self. Different al-Qaeda affiliates and extremist groups have emerged from the Arabian Peninsula to Africa. The threat these groups pose is evolving. But to meet this threat, we don't need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations," he said.

"Instead, we will need to help countries like Yemen, Libya, and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And, where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans," he said in his address.

Noting that America's challenges don't end with al Qaeda, Obama said America will continue to lead the effort to prevent the spread of the world s most dangerous weapons. The US, Obama said, will join with its allies to eradicate extreme poverty in the next two decades: by connecting more people to the global economy and empowering women; by giving young and brightest minds new opportunities to serve and helping communities to feed, power, and educate themselves.

"Above all, America must remain a beacon to all who seek freedom during this period of historic change. I saw the power of hope last year in Rangoon when Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed an American President into the home where she had been
imprisoned for years; when thousands of Burmese lined the streets, waving American flags, including a man who said, 'There is justice and law in the United States. I want our country to be like that'," he said.

In defence of freedom, the US will remain the anchor of strong alliances from the Americas to Africa; from Europe to Asia, he said. "In the Middle East, we will stand with citizens as they demand their universal rights, and support stable transitions to democracy. The process will be messy, and we cannot presume to dictate the course of change in countries like Egypt; but we can and will insist on respect for the fundamental rights of all people," he said.

"We will keep the pressure on a Syrian regime that has murdered its own people, and support opposition leaders that respect the rights of every Syrian. And we will stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace. These are the messages I will deliver when I travel to the Middle East next month," said Obama, who would be travelling to the region next month.

First Published: February 13, 2013, 1:29 PM IST
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