The federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt the U.S. economy back to life, Barack Obama said at a media briefing in Washington.
”This is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill recession. We are going through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” Obama said.
He added that passing the $US 838 billion stimulus package is necessary to fight the economic collapse. Obama has said that, if things go right, “starting next year, we can start seeing significant improvement”.
“My bottom line is to make sure that we are saving or creating four million jobs,” he said, “and that the financial system is working again, that homeowners are getting some relief”.
On Tuesday the stimulus bill is to undergo a vote in the Senate.
‘No to nuclear arms race’
At the media briefing Barack Obama also touched upon U.S. relations with Iran and Russia. Unlike his predecessor, Obama believes that there’s the possibility at least of a relationship of mutual respect and progress between America and Iran.
“We should take an approach with Iran that employs all of the resources at the United States’ disposal, and that includes diplomacy. And so my national security team is currently reviewing our existing Iran policy, looking at areas where we can have constructive dialogue, where we can directly engage with them,” Obama said.
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The 44th U.S. President has said it is time for Iran to send some signals that it wants to act differently, and to recognise that, even though it has some rights as a member of the international community, with those rights come responsibilities. Obama expects that the possibility of dialogue with Iran will appear ‘in the coming months’.
As for relations with Russia, it is important to restart talks on effective mutual reducing of nuclear arsenals, Obama said:
“So that we then have the standing to go to other countries and start stitching back together the nonproliferation treaties that, frankly, have been weakened over the last several years,” Obama added.
The American president said that it is important for the United States, in concert with Russia, to lead the way on preventing nuclear proliferation.
“If we see a nuclear arms race in a region as volatile as the Middle East, everybody will be in danger,” Obama said.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Segrey Lavrov has welcomed Obama’s initial steps to cut down nuclear stockpiles.
“Russia is ready for talks that will keep the regime of non proliferation and reduce strategic offensive armaments together with defensive armaments,” he said. “We are satisfied that the new administration in Washington is paying close attention to the issue. We are ready to keep following the way of non proliferation while of course considering all aspects of Russia’s security.”
Russian political analysts believe that the American president and his administration will try to show positive results in their dialogue with Moscow.
Interfax news agency quotes the Deputy Chief of the Center of Political Technologies Aleksey Makarkin as saying: “In his speech, Obama has touched upon those aspects in the U.S.-Russia relations which can give a quick result, and the reducing nuclear arms issue is among them. This is very important for a politician who has just taken the president’s seat.”