Obama to meet Aus­tralian, Cana­dian lead­ers be­fore his re­turn to the U.S.

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS -

LIMA, PERU >> Pres­i­dent Barack Obama planned sep­a­rate talks with the lead­ers of Aus­tralia and Canada be­fore wrap­ping up the fi­nal for­eign trip of his pres­i­dency.

Both coun­tries helped ne­go­ti­ate a multi­na­tional trade agree­ment with the U.S. and nine other Pa­cific Rim coun­tries. But Congress is un­likely to rat­ify the deal, deal­ing a blow to Obama’s once high hopes of hav­ing the agree­ment be­come part of his pres­i­den­tial legacy.

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump says trade deals can hurt U.S. work­ers, and he op­poses the sweep­ing Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship agree­ment.

Be­sides par­tic­i­pat­ing in meet­ings Sunday with other world lead­ers at­tend­ing the an­nual Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Fo­rum tak­ing place in Peru’s cap­i­tal, Obama was sit­ting down first with Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull of Aus­tralia, a U.S. ally and part­ner in the trans-Pa­cific trade deal.

The pres­i­dent also planned to speak with Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau, whose na­tion is another TPP part­ner.

Be­fore board­ing Air Force One for the flight to Washington, Obama was to an­swer ques­tions from the jour­nal­ists who ac­com­pa­nied him to Greece, Ger­many and Peru.

Trump’s elec­tion over­shad­owed ev­ery stop on Obama’s trip. The pres­i­dent went to once unimag­in­able lengths to de­fend the realestate mogul and re­al­ity TV star who he had re­peat­edly de­nounced dur­ing the cam­paign as “tem­per­a­men­tally un­fit” and “uniquely un­qual­i­fied” to be pres­i­dent.

“I think it will be im­por­tant for ev­ery­body around the world to not make im­me­di­ate judg­ments, but give this new pres­i­den­t­elect a chance to put their team to­gether, to ex­am­ine the is­sues, to de­ter­mine what their poli­cies will be,” Obama said in re­sponse to a ques­tion about Trump dur­ing a fo­rum here Satur­day with some of Latin Amer­ica’s fu­ture lead­ers. “As I’ve al­ways said, how you cam­paign isn’t al­ways the same as how you gov­ern,” he added.

Obama’s sug­ges­tion is that Trump could soften some of his more hard-line po­si­tions on im­mi­gra­tion, ter­ror­ism and other is­sues once he con­fronts the re­al­ity of hav­ing to run the coun­try. But the can­di­dates Trump an­nounced this past week for key national se­cu­rity posts — Alabama Sen. Jeff Ses­sions for at­tor­ney gen­eral, re­tired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn for national se­cu­rity ad­viser and Kansas Rep. Mike Pom­peo to lead the CIA — sent a sig­nal that Trump in­tends to lead ex­actly as he said he would dur­ing the cam­paign.

Lead­ers in ev­ery re­gion of the world have ex­pressed con­cern about Trump’s stances on im­mi­gra­tion, trade, NATO and other mat­ters.

Obama’s first stop was Greece, where he lent sup­port to the prime min­is­ter’s ef­fort to turn around the coun­try’s econ­omy. He gave a speech about the value of democ­racy, de­spite its some­times “messy” na­ture, as he says the U.S. elec­tion showed. Obama cam­paigned hard for the los­ing Demo­cratic can­di­date, Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Dur­ing his stop in Greece, he also carved out time to tour the Acrop­o­lis and Parthenon.

From there, it was on to Ger­many to visit one fi­nal time with Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel, with whom he has col­lab­o­rated closely dur­ing the past eight years.


Pres­i­dent Barack Obama speaks dur­ing a meet­ing with China’s Pres­i­dent Xi Jing­ping dur­ing the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (APEC) in Lima, Peru, on Satur­day.

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