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Washington - Obama Holds Foreign Policy Meeting With Lawmakers

Published on: July 31, 2014 03:42 PM
By: AP
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President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, during a meeting with members of Congress on foreign policy including Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, from left, and Senator Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, in Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, on 31 July  2014.  EPA/Andrew Harrer / POOLPresident Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, during a meeting with members of Congress on foreign policy including Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, from left, and Senator Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, in Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, on 31 July 2014.  EPA/Andrew Harrer / POOL

Washington - President Barack Obama huddled with congressional lawmakers Thursday to discuss the numerous foreign policy crises facing his administration, including tensions with Russia and the war between Israel and Hamas.

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The meeting came amid rampant criticism of Obama’s foreign policy from Republicans on Capitol Hill. Some of those who have criticized Obama were among the 14 lawmakers who attended Thursday’s meeting, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who said shortly before the discussion that the president would leave the world “a more dangerous place” for his predecessor.

Obama was joined in the meeting by Vice President Joe Biden and several top foreign policy advisers. The White House said the meeting occurred at Obama’s request.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Obama spoke about a number of issues: the crisis in Ukraine, the clashes in Gaza, the ongoing civil war in Syria, and the situations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama also discussed the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, where tens of thousands of unaccompanied children have arrived.

Durbin said Obama faced no pushback from lawmakers on the administration’s efforts to seek a cease-fire in Gaza. The president has been taking an increasingly tough line with Israel over the mounting civilian casualties at the same time lawmakers from both parties press him to avoid pressuring Israel to halt its military operations.

Durbin said the president and lawmakers agreed that no country should be expected to tolerate thousands of rocket attacks.

“Israel has to defend itself,” he said. The senator added that Obama reported no progress on reaching a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

President Barack Obama meets with Congressional leaders to discuss foreign policy, Thursday, July 31, 2014, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. Clockwise from center left, Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., White House Legislative Affairs Director Katie Beirne Fallon, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill., Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., the president,  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., Senate  Intelligence Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)President Barack Obama meets with Congressional leaders to discuss foreign policy, Thursday, July 31, 2014, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. Clockwise from center left, Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., White House Legislative Affairs Director Katie Beirne Fallon, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill., Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., the president,  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., Senate Intelligence Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)


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