Reaction to the president's UN address

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MARCO WERMAN: Jonas Gahr St�re is Norway's Foreign Minister. Mister Gahr St�re, President Obama addressed the UN General Assembly for the first time today. I'd like to know what you made of the President's speech?

JONAS GAHR ST�RE: Well, I found it a strong message. It was new, I would say, in its analysis and emphasis from a US president compared to the previous presentations by President Bush. I think the main message I take from it is a very strong message on US coming back to the UN. Coming back to the multilateral family out there on the global scene.

WERMAN: Let me ask you, he said that the United States stands ready to begin a new chapter of international cooperation. He also said that all nations have rights and they have responsibilities as well. What do you think he meant by that?

ST�RE: Well, I think the message he sent by saying that there were times when we criticized, the United States, for going it alone. And now that we're not going it alone, you have to come along. And I think that's a good point, you know? There are still voices out there expecting the US to deal with it alone, and I think the president is very clear in his message and in hiss analysis that even the strongest nation needs others to come along. The challenges ahead of us ranging from climate change to nuclear issues to economic crisis have to be solved in concert between nations. And that's the responsibility part. And that's part of the transformational part of Obama's speech. That we all have to go through what that responsibility means in the 21st century.

WERMAN: Well, let's talk about the responsibility and what the United States is bringing to the table. President Obama mentioned as one of these four pillars keeping the economy healthy. He spoke of sustained growth, which his precisely what landed the world in the economic crisis last year. And combine that with the fact that Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan each paid billions of dollars more in bonuses so far this year than they earned in all of 2008. How does that make you feel?

ST�RE: Well, I think it makes me feel as it made President Obama feel. I think it's a terrible paradox. It's a shame. All governments, including my own, have now put out an enormous amount of taxpayers' money to stimulate the economy, and that seems to be pretty successful. But it's a major risk, it's building up debt, it's going to demand a lot of careful management. And then we see these bonuses coming back. Probably the single illustration of what went wrong during that crisis of greed and uncontrolled accumulation of financial wealth. So, we have to go back to our national legislation to the codes between countries to deal with it. And I think in democracies, voters will not understand if we don't. So we have to.

WERMAN: Another pillar that Mister Obama spoke of was taking care of the environment. He'd mentioned the 20 billion US dollars he's invested so far in clean energy. But the standards for auto emissions that Mister Obama set for the US in 2020 only meet the standard already met by European and Japanese cars. So when Mister Obama's saying to you and the others in the general assembly today, the US can't do it alone, what were you thinking?

ST�RE: Well, he said another thing yesterday during dinner. My prime minister was there, something, which is�we have to understand, which is obvious. You come out of 8 years of climate denial in the U.S., if I can put it that bluntly. And now we've had 9 months with a president who really talks about this, addresses this in the right way, has the right analysis. This is like turning a supertanker. It cannot switch around like a small speedboat. And I think the elements that the president is putting on line here, and his analysis, is profoundly right. But still, the world will be waiting to see the US turn that analysis into practical policies.

WERMAN: Finally, Mister St�re, just describe for us the mood in the general assembly hall after Mister Obama's eloquent and taut speech today, as it was followed by an almost surreal speech that lasted for well over an hour from Colonel Muamar Qaddafi of Libya.

ST�RE: Well, this is the world. Sometimes the UN are criticized for what we heard during that hour. That's unfair. The rostrum of the UN is for the member states of the world, and we have to live with those contrasts. I think we heard the most eloquent analysis, the most informed enlightened roadmap for how to deal with world affairs. And then we heard afterwards, the extreme contrast. And then if you sit back and say that this is hopeless, I would rather say the good thing about the UN is that you get the world as it is.

WERMAN: Jonas Gahr St�re is Norway's foreign minister. He was in attendance today for President Obama's first address to the United Nations. Thanks for your time today, I know it's a busy one for you.

ST�RE: Thank you so much.

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