Obama hopes Trump will "stand up" to Russia

Barack Obama, on the last leg of his final European tour as president, aims to ease fears about the future of the transatlantic partnership, following Donald Trump's surprise presidential election victory.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Outgoing US President Barack Obama says he might vote for Angela Merkel, who is also coming to the end of her term as Chancellor, if he was a German.

The US president-elect Donald Trump should stand up to Russia when needed and take a constructive approach where interests aligned, said current President Barack Obama on Thursday.

"My hope is that the president-elect [Donald Trump] coming in takes a similarly constructive approach, finding areas where we can cooperate with Russia where our values and interests align, but that the president-elect also is willing to stand up to Russia when they are deviating from our values and international norms," Obama said.

"In order for us to solve many big problems around the world, it is in our interest to work with Russia," Obama told a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Obama, who is in Germany on the last leg of his final European tour as president, aimed to ease fears about the future of the transatlantic partnership, following Donald Trump's surprise presidential election victory.

As Western leaders brace for potentially radical changes with Trump moving into the Oval Office in January, Obama wrapped up a visit to Athens on Wednesday, warning that globalisation required a "course correction" to keep voters from drifting to extremes.

"When we see people, global elites, wealthy corporations seemingly living by a different set of rules, avoiding taxes, manipulating loopholes... this feeds a profound sense of injustice," Obama said.

After Trump's shock victory, Merkel – the leader of Europe's top economic power – expressed a desire to maintain close ties with Washington.

But in an extraordinary break with tradition for Germany, which long saw the US as its protector and closest ally, Merkel pointedly said cooperation must be based on shared democratic principles and respect for human dignity.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks over as US President Barack Obama gestures during their joint press conference at the German Chancellery in Berlin, Germany November 17, 2016. (Reuters)

Chancellor Merkel is also coming to the end of her term.

When asked if she would run for a another term, Merkel said she would announce at the appropriate moment whether she will run for a fourth term next year, adding "that is not today."

Obama, who said he might vote for Merkel if he were a German, said: "Merkel has been an outstanding partner."

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies