Malala meets Obamas, tells US to end drone attacks

13 Oct 2013

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on Friday met Pakistani teenage activist Malala Yousafzai in the Oval Office of the White House and praised her inspiring and passionate work on girls' education.

"President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama today welcomed Malala Yousafzai to the Oval Office to thank her for her inspiring and passionate work on behalf of girls education in Pakistan," the White House said after the meeting.

''The US joins with the Pakistani people and so many around the world to celebrate Malala's courage and her determination to promote the right of all girls to attend school and realise their dreams,'' the White House said.

"As the First Lady has said, 'Investing in girls' education is the very best thing we can do, not just for our daughters and granddaughters, but for their families, their communities, and their countries," it added.

"As Obama said in his proclamation to mark today as the International Day of the Girl, 'Across the globe there are girls who will one day lead nations, if only we afford them the chance to choose their own destinies'," the White House added.

"And on every continent, there are girls who will go on to change the world in ways we can only imagine, if only we allow them the freedom to dream. We salute Malala's efforts to help make these dreams come true," it said.

Malala, 16, who is now based in Birmingham, UK, was shot by the Taliban as she travelled on a school bus in the Swat Valley in Pakistan in October last year.

She was among the favourites to win this year's Nobel Peace Prize for her bold campaign for girls' right to education in Pakistan, which went to the OPCW, a UN-backed chemical weapons watchdog.

In a statement later, Malala said she was honored to meet Obamas.

"I thanked President Obama for the United States' work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees," she said.

"I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fuelling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact,'' she said.

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