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Obama's foreign policy priorities in 2014

Following President Barack Obama's State of the Union, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes offered a summary of the president's foreign policy priorities for 2014.
Posted By JC Finley   |   Jan. 30, 2014 at 4:00 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Following President Barack Obama's State of the Union on Tuesday, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes presented a run-down of the president's foreign policy priorities in 2014.

Speaking at the Foreign Press Center on Wednesday, Rhodes described the president's foreign policy priorities as a "pivot" away from war-focused foreign policy toward "a broader agenda."

That pivot involves re-evaluating "the future of our relationship with Afghanistan," specifically regarding the potential for a follow-on force to assist with counter-terrorism missions and Afghan force training. In terms of counter-terrorism assistance to allies, the U.S. will need to transition from "large military deployments to more focused capacity-building efforts."

The president is also focused on changing the government's "permanent war footing" by imposing limits, oversight, and accountability on the use of drones, reforming surveillance programs, and closing Guantanamo Bay.

With regard to diplomatic priorities in the Middle East, the president highlighted the issues affecting Syria -- both the destruction of chemical weapons and the complex conflict -- as well negotiations to address Iran's nuclear program, and the on-going Middle East peace talk between Israelis and Palestinians.

Globally, the president is also emphasizing foreign policy in the Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa, and Europe. The president has called his attention to the Asian Pacific region a "defining focus of our Administration."

In Latin America, the president is working to building commercial relationships.

The president is continuing efforts to support "security, greater commercial trade and investment relationships, and also democratic development in Africa" by hosting a summit in August for African heads of state and government. European outreach in 2014 will involve meetings at The Hague and with the EU and NATO.

[State Department]

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