President urges global cooperation
Calls Easter, Passover a time to focus on unity
WASHINGTON - President Obama invoked Christian and Jewish holidays yesterday to urge nations to confront together the challenges he saw during last week'strip to Europe.
Obama said no single nation can solve the problems stemming from the financial meltdown, climate change, and nuclear weapons. Fresh from his first trip overseas as president, Obama asked Americans - and a global audience - to focus on common interests instead of differences.
"These are challenges that no single nation, no matter how powerful, can confront alone," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. "The United States must lead the way. But our best chance to solve these unprecedented problems comes from acting in concert with other nations."
Obama pointed to his London meeting with leaders of the G-20 nations - a gathering that represented 85 percent of the global economy - where he pressed for increased regulation and economic stimulus. He also noted his attendance at the NATO summit in France to discuss strategy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as his speeches against nuclear weapons in the Czech Republic and about faith divisions in Turkey.
"With all that is at stake today, we cannot afford to talk past one another. We can't afford to allow old differences to prevent us from making progress in areas of common concern," Obama said.
Obama used the eight-day trip to highlight his foreign policy agenda, including starting negotiations with Russia about reducing nuclear stockpiles. Such talks, announced alongside Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, would be the first talks in years and are part of Obama's pledge "to free the world from the menace of a nuclear nightmare."
Obama said his agenda in Europe should be the common goals among people of faith during holy days of Easter and Passover.
"These are two very different holidays with their own very different traditions. But it seems fitting that we mark them both during the same week," Obama said. "For in a larger sense, they are both moments of reflection and renewal. They are both occasions to think more deeply about the obligations we have to ourselves and the obligations we have to one another, no matter who we are, where we come from, or what faith we practice."