In his sixth annual address to the Congress, Obama touched upon various areas of the world, emphasizing on key aspects of his foreign policy. There was no mention of India in his speech, wherein he cited China once in an economic context. (Agencies)
"We will continue to focus on the Asia-Pacific, where we support our allies, shape a future of greater security and prosperity and extend a hand to those devastated by disaster, as we did in the Philippines, when our Marines and civilians rushed to aid those battered by a typhoon, and were greeted with words like, 'We will never forget your kindness' and 'God bless America!'," Obama said in his annual State of the Union Address to the Congress.
Observing that in a world of complex threats, US' security and leadership depends on all elements of its power, Obama said American diplomacy has rallied more than fifty countries to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands and allowed to reduce reliance on Cold War stockpiles.
"American diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syria's chemical weapons are being eliminated, and we will continue to work with the international community to usher in the future the Syrian people deserve a future free of dictatorship, terror and fear," he said.
Attributing the tough sanctions on Iran for bringing Tehran on the negotiations table, Obama threatened to veto any Congressional bill that imposes new sanctions on Iran as negotiations of curtailing the latter's nuclear weapons programme continue.
"The sanctions that we put in place helped make this opportunity possible. But let me be clear: if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it. For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed," he said.
It is American diplomacy, backed by pressure, that has halted the progress of Iran's nuclear programme and rolled back parts of it for the very first time in a decade, US President argued.
Iran has begun to eliminate its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium, he said. "It is not installing advanced centrifuges. Unprecedented inspections help the world verify, every day, that Iran is not building a bomb. And with our allies and partners, we're engaged in negotiations to see if we can peacefully achieve a goal we all share: preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," Obama said.
These negotiations will be difficult, he acknowledged, noting that they may not succeed. "We are clear-eyed about Iran's support for terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, which threaten our allies and the mistrust between our nations cannot be wished away," he said.
"But these negotiations do not rely on trust, any long-term deal we agree to must be based on verifiable action that convinces us and the international community that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb," Obama asserted.
US President argued that if John F Kennedy and Ronald Reagan could negotiate with the Soviet Union, then surely a "strong and confident America can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today".
"If Iran's leaders do not seize this opportunity, then I will be the first to call for more sanctions, and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon.
"But if Iran's leaders do seize the chance, then Iran could take an important step to rejoin the community of nations, and we will have resolved one of the leading security challenges of our time without the risks of war," Obama said.
"As we speak, American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as they engage in difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there, to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians and lasting peace and security for the State of Israel, a Jewish state that knows America will always be at their side," Obama said.
US President noted that the American leadership is defined not just by its defense against threats but by the enormous opportunities to do good and promote understanding around the globe to forge greater cooperation, to expand new markets, to free people from fear and want.
And no one is better positioned to take advantage of those opportunities than America, he said. "Our alliance with Europe remains the strongest the world has ever known. From Tunisia to Burma, we're supporting those who are willing to do the hard work of building democracy," he said.
In his speech Obama pledged support to the people of Ukraine, saying US will stand for the principle that all people have the right to express themselves freely and peacefully and have a say in their country's future.
"Across Africa, we're bringing together businesses and governments to double access to electricity and help end extreme poverty," Obama said. "In the Americas, we are building new ties of commerce, but we're also expanding cultural and educational exchanges among young people," US President said.
In his sixth annual address to the Congress, Obama touched upon various areas of the world, emphasizing on key aspects of his foreign policy. There was no mention of India in his speech, wherein he cited China once in an economic context.