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Obama pushes Congress for more funding for embassy security

U.S. President Barack Obama listens to a question in the rain during a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoga
U.S. President Barack Obama listens to a question in the rain during a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoga

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama called on U.S. lawmakers on Thursday to provide extra funding to boost security for American embassies following the attack last year on the a U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Obama, speaking at a joint news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, also said he would take other action to help protect U.S. diplomats abroad.

"I'm calling on Congress to work with us to support and fully fund our budget request to improve the security of our embassies around the world," Obama said.

His comments were the latest effort by the White House to try to tamp down controversy over the September 11, 2012 attacks on U.S. compounds in Benghazi, in which Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died.

Obama said Congress should fund his administration's budget request so that it could implement the recommendations of the board that reviewed last year's attacks. It was also critical to increase military staff protecting U.S. embassies, he added.

The president said the administration was continuing to review security at U.S. posts in high-threat areas and working to improve training and to increase intelligence and warning capabilities.

"I've directed the Defense Department to ensure that our military can respond lightening quick in times of crisis," he said.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by David Brunnstrom)

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