Washington: US President Barack Obama
on Wednesday telephoned former President Bill Clinton to thank him
for his "extraordinary humanitarian" effort to get two female
American journalist released by the North Korean regime.
"Yes, they (Obama and Clinton) talked for a few
minutes right before President Obama went out to speak with
you all about his reaction to the journalists being released,"
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters abroad
Air Force One travelling with him to Indiana.
"The President thanked him for a great job and knew
how much the families appreciated the President`s trip and
continued service to the country," Gibbs said, adding that
Obama and Clinton are expected to meet soon.
"I want to thank President Bill Clinton -- I had a
chance to talk to him -- for the extraordinary humanitarian
effort that resulted in the release of the two journalists,"
Obama told reporters at White House minutes before leaving for
Indiana Wednesday morning.
Reiterating that this was a "private humanitarian
mission" undertaken by Bill Clinton, Gibbs said: "I know the
President is enormously thankful for his service. I think if
the President is ever looking for people to help, former
Presidents are always a pretty good group to try."
When asked if this would change the relationship
between the two countries, Gibbs said that the arrest and
release of American journalist and the US`s effort to
denuclearize the Korean peninsula were two different issues.
"We view these as different events," he said.
"The best way to change our relationship with North
Korea would be for the North Koreans to decide that it`s time
to live up to the responsibilities and the agreements that
they themselves entered into. Our goal is a denuclearized
Korean Peninsula. And the North Koreans can and should live
up to those agreements," Gibbs asserted.