News World Barack Obama’s final press conference as US President
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Barack Obama’s final press conference as US President

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President Barack Obama signed the deal with Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: AAP Photo: AAP
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Outgoing United States President Barack Obama has given his final press conference before he hands over his role to President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday (AEDT).

In a lengthy and reflective press call Mr Obama touched on his family life, the Israel-Palestine conflict, the role of journalists in the White House and his handover to Mr Trump.

“I have offered my best advice and counsel about foreign and domestic policy [to Mr Trump],” Mr Obama said. “And my working assumption is that having won an election apposed to a number of my initiatives … it is appropriate for him to go forward with his vision and his values.”

In a possibly veiled dig at Mr Trump, who is openly contemptuous of journalists, Mr Obama said “having you [journalists] in this building has made this place work better”.

Mr Obama said of journalists, “you’re not supposed to be sycophants. You’re supposed to be skeptics. You’re supposed to ask tough questions.”

Mr Trump’s transition team is considering holding briefings outside the White House briefing room, a proposal that is raising concern over whether it could result in limited White House access.

Mr Obama also praised his daughters, saying they do not intend to pursue a future in politics – thanks to the influence of his wife, Michelle.

But he said the girls “could not help but be patriotic” given the environment they have grown up.

During Obama’s eight years in office, the first lady became one of the most sought-after Democratic surrogates. But she detests politics and repeatedly has said she will never run for public office.

Obama says his daughters – 18-year-old Malia and 15-year-old Sasha – were disappointed in the outcome of the presidential election.

He says he and his wife try to teach their daughters resilience.

'Nah'. Sasha and Malia Obama cooly deflect their dad's attempts at humour.
Sasha and Malia Obama will not go into politics. Photo: AAP

The president said, “They don’t mope.”

Mr Obama also said he’s worried that the prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are waning because of growing Israeli settlement of the West Bank.

Mr Obama told his final news conference as president that his administration did not block a recent UN resolution on Israeli settlement activity because it felt a two-state solution was the only option for peace.

“The goal of the resolution was to simply say that the … growth of the settlements are creating a reality on the ground that increasingly will make a two-state solution impossible,” Obama told the news conference.

“It was important for us to send a signal, a wakeup call that this moment may be passing.”

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