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         Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015




Obama: Strengthen People-to-people Ties, Especially Among Young

PUTRAJAYA -- United States (US) President Barack Obama said on Sunday, his administration looked forward to strengthening people-to-people ties, especially among the young, as it forged deeper cooperation with the Malaysian government.

He said the US and Malaysia were working more closely across a whole range of areas after he and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak agreed to broaden the bilateral relationship, including in the security and trade areas when the latter visited Washington, about four years ago.

In a joint press conference with Najib, following talks between both leaders in conjunction with his historic visit to Malaysia, Obama said he was pleased that both nations were formalising efforts in a new comprehensive partnership.

It was also his hope that the Malaysia-US partnership expand to strengthen the strong ties between the people of both nations, especially the young people.

"The young women and men of the US and Malaysia are gleaming with potential and we want to do more together, to open the door of opportunity to everybody, regardless of race, religion, gender or language," he said.

Obama said he and Najib had agreed to renew the Fullbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) programme for several more years.

"Thanks to the tremendous success of the programme of bringing our young Americans to Malaysia to teach English," he said, while expressing hope that the young Americans could share similar perspective and experience like him, as he had been brought up in the South East Asia region.

Touching on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the US president said it was agreed upon by both leaders that particular issues of importance to Malaysia should be resolved quickly to reach a comprehensive agreement.

Obama said the two leaders would be joining business leaders for the signing of three commercial agreements worth more then US$1 billion of new trade and investments between the two nations.

In his remarks, he also noted that the comprehensive partnership would expand the security cooperation between the two nations, promote maritime security and regional stability.

"We very much agree with Asean and Malaysia's views that disputes need to be resolved peacefully without intimidation, and that all nations must abide by international rules and international laws," he said.

He said the US looked forward to work with Malaysia on security and maritime issues when Malaysia took the Asean chairmanship in 2015.

Obama was on a three-day visit to Malaysia, the first by a sitting American president in nearly 50 years.



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