Obama hopes Trump will 'stand up' to Russia when needed

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President Obama, as he continues his final oversees trip as head of the United States, sought to reassure world leaders of his successor — even as it is unclear what foreign policies president-elect Donald Trump will keep or gut.

Obama said he hopes that Trump will be able to stand up to Russia when needed.

"I've sought a constructive relationship with Russia," Obama told reporters during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday. "But what I have also been is realistic in recognizing that there is some significant differences in how Russia views the world and how we view the world."

Obama said he hopes Trump "doesn't take a realpolitik approach" and cut deals with Russia on Ukraine or Syria, among other issues. During the presidential campaign cycle, Trump was laudatory of Russian President Vladimir Putin and vowed to work to better U.S.-Russian relations.

Putin and Trump spoke last week following the business mogul's presidential win.

See President Obama with German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

8 PHOTOS
President Obama with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for farewell visit
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President Obama with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for farewell visit
U.S. President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel smile during their press conference at the German Chancellery in Berlin, Germany November 17, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel attend a private dinner at the famous Adlon hotel in Berlin, Germany, November 17, 2016. REUTERS/Guido Bergmann/Bundespresseamt/Handout via Reuters THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS.
US President Barack Obama listens while German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during after their meeting at the chancellery in Berlin on November 17, 2016. US President Barack Obama pays a farewell visit to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, seen by some as the new standard bearer of liberal democracy since the election of Donald Trump. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 17: A reporter photographs German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama speaking to the media following talks at the Chancellery on November 17, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. President Obama is on his last trip to Europe and is scheduled to hold talks with Chancellor Merkel as well as French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in Berlin tomorrow. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 17: German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets U.S. President Barack Obama upon his arrival at the Chancellery on November 17, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. President Obama is on his last trip to Europe and is scheduled to hold talks with Chancellor Merkel as well as French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in Berlin tomorrow. (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes US President Barack Obama on November 17, 2016 at the Chancellery in Berlin. US President Barack Obama is to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel, widely seen as the new standard bearer of liberal democracy since the election of Donald Trump. On the last leg of his final European tour as president, Obama will underline shared values, try to ease fears about the future of the transatlantic partnership and thank Merkel for her friendship during his two terms, White House officials said. / AFP / TOBIAS SCHWARZ (Photo credit should read TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama is greeted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel upon arrival at the chancellery on November 17, 2016 in Berlin. US President Barack Obama pays a farewell visit to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, seen by some as the new standard bearer of liberal democracy since the election of Donald Trump. / AFP / TOBIAS SCHWARZ (Photo credit should read TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
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Related: Where Trump Could Make Major Policy Shifts — Even Without Congress

"My hope," Obama said on Thursday, is that "the president elect is willing to stand up to Russia when they are deviating from international norms."

The Obama administration deeply opposes Russian support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and previously said Moscow's actions were creating a regional "quagmire."

As he visits Greece, Germany and Peru this week, Obama has been sitting down with a number of world leaders to offer encouragement to the international community on such issues as implementation of the Paris climate change and Iran nuclear agreements. Publicly and privately, the president and members of the administration have advocated with Trump in favor of these agreements.

Related: Obama During Final Foreign Trip: 'I Still Don't Feel Responsible' for Trump

See more photos from President Barack Obama's last tour of Europe:

26 PHOTOS
Barack Obama's last tour of Europe
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Barack Obama's last tour of Europe
U.S. President Barack Obama is welcomed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel upon his arrival at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, November 17, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a joint news conference in Berlin, Germany, November 17, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama gestures during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Germany, November 17, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
A member of a security detail keeps watch as President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel meet in the German Chancellery in Berlin, Germany November 17, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Barack Obama is welcomed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel upon his arrival at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, November 17, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
U.S. President Barack Obama walks past the Brandenburg Gate during his visit to Berlin, Germany November 17, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama looks on next to German Chancellor Angela Merkel upon his arrival at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, November 17, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
U.S. President Barack Obama walks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel upon his arrival at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, November 17, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
U.S. President Barack Obama makes a point during his speech at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens, Greece November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Barack Obama acknowledges applause after delivering a speech at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens, Greece November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Barack Obama tours the Acropolis Museum in Athens, Greece November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque 
U.S. President Barack Obama passes the Parthenon while touring the Acropolis with Dr. Eleni Banou from the Ministry of Culture in Athens, Greece November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama tours the Acropolis in Athens, Greece November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras listen as Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos speaks during a state dinner in Obama's honor at the Presidential Mansion in Athens, Greece November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S President Barack Obama inspects a Greek guard of honor at a welcome ceremony, in Athens, Greece, November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis 
U.S. President Barack Obama walks past Greek Orthodox Archbishop Ieronymos as he arrives for a state dinner held in his honor at the Presidential Mansion in Athens, Greece November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
A petrol bomb explodes next to riot police during a demonstration against the visit of U.S President Barack Obama, in Athens, Greece, November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
U.S. President Barack Obama listens as Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos speaks during a state dinner in Obama's honor at the Presidential Mansion in Athens, Greece November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Refugee children from Afghanistan react as U.S. President Barack Obama's motorcade passes by following his arrival in Athens, Greece, November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Michalis Karagiannis
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at Maximos Palace in Athens, Greece November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (R) welcomes US President Barack Obama before their meeting in Athens on November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Aris Messinis/Pool 
Protesters from the Communist-affiliated PAME trade hold a banner reading "EU and NATO a War syndicate" during a demonstration against the visit of U.S President Barack Obama, in Athens, Greece, November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Michalis Karagiannis
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (L) welcomes US President Barack Obama before their meeting in Athens on November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Aris Messinis/Pool
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos at the Presidential Mansion during his visit to Athens, Greece November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Secret Service agents stand beside the U.S President Barack Obama's limousine following his arrival at the Eleftherios Venizelos International airport in Athens, Greece, November 15, 2016. REUTERS/Michalis Karagiannis
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During the contentious presidential campaign season, Trump sharply criticized a number of international agreements and alliances advocated by Obama and called NATO "obsolete." On Thursday, Obama said he is now encouraged by Trump's commitment to NATO.

It would be very difficult for Trump to enact a full-scale stop on Obama-backed agreements on reducing climate change and limiting Iran's nuclear weapons program, since those international deals involve global partners.

Among foreign leaders, Merkel has been among Obama's closest allies.

"We chose to go to Germany for a number of reasons" Obama deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters before the president headed abroad. "First, Angela Merkel, who has been, I'd say, the president's closest partner over the course of his entire presidency. She's been there the entire time. They've worked together on almost every issue. They've developed a deep mutual respect, I think, and close friendship as well. So he wanted to see Chancellor Merkel one more time to thank her for her partnership and leadership."

Related: Obama Races to Protect His Achievements From Trump

Amid the refugee crisis caused largely by the Syrian civil war, Merkel has joined the American president in being a forceful advocate in urging other nations to take in those fleeing violence and unrest in their home countries. Like Obama, she has also tried to stop the rising tide of nationalism and anti-globalization that helped lead to the growing influence of far-right parties across Europe and Trump's election in the U.S.

Obama said he is "cautiously optimistic" that the gravity of holding the Oval Office will weigh on Trump and that it will help guide his decisions.

See iconic photos of Obama:

45 PHOTOS
44 iconic photos of Barack Obama's presidency
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44 iconic photos of Barack Obama's presidency

Barack Obama takes a moment to reflect before walking on stage to take the oath of office.

Photo Credit: The White House

Barack Obama and the First Lady share a tender moment during the Inaugural Ball on Jan. 20, 2009. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Obama enters the Oval Office on the first day of his presidency. 

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama reads a letter left in his desk by George W. Bush, a White House tradition welcoming the new President. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Obama tours the grounds of his new home for the next 8 years. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Barack Obama meets with senior advisors in his third week as president.

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama settles in for his first flight aboard Air Force One. 

Photo Credit: The White House

The 44th President of the United States gives his first State of the Union address on February 24, 2009. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Mr. & Mrs. Obama walk hand in hand towards the helicopter that will take them on their first trip to Camp David. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Michelle Obama shakes hands with Queen Elizabeth at the Buckingham palace during their trip for the G20 summit.

Photo Credit: The White House

POTUS shows some love for his troops while visiting Camp Victory in Iraq on April 7, 2009. 

Photo Credit: The White House

The Obamas share a laugh while eating a snack after an event. 

Photo Credit: The White House 

Obama and Biden take in some fresh air with some golf on the White House green.

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama explores the Pyramids of Giza during a trip to Egypt on June 4, 2009. 

Photo Credit: The White House

POTUS walks through his first G8 Summit in Italy. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Barack Obama takes in the beauty of the Grand Canyon.

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama enjoys himself during an interview with David Letterman on Sept 21, 2009. 

Photo Credit: The White House

The Obama's welcome children to enjoy Halloween fun at the White House. 

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama accepts his Nobel Peace Prize for "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples".

Photo credit: AP Photo/John McConnico

President Obama and the First Lady take their first portrait in front of the official White House Christmas tree. 

Obama sits in his personalized chair during a meeting. 

Photo Credit: The White House

The Obama's bust a move during the Governors' Ball. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Obama takes a moment to catch up on some important documents while on the go. 

Photo credit: The White House

The President takes calls at all hours leading up to the vote on healthcare reform.

Photo credit: The White House

Obama and Biden applaud the passing of the Affordable Care Act.

Photo Credit: The White House

White House Photographer Pete Souza had this to say about capturing this photo: "The sun was setting as the Presidential motorcade arrived back at Miami International Airport. I ran to get in front of Air Force One so I could use the beautiful sky as the background when the President boarded the plane."

Photo Credit: The White House

The Obamas lip-sync to a group of a cappella singers during a holiday visit. 

Photo Credit: The White House

A rare moment in the Situation Room of the White House.

Photo Credit: The White House

The President greets soldiers after a surprise all night flight to Afghanistan. 

Photo Credit: The White House

The Obama family admires Rio's infamous Christ the Redeemer statue while In Brazil on March 20, 2011. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Barack Obama approaches the Marine One helicopter. 

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama watches the screen like a hawk during the real time mission to capture Osama bin Laden.

Photo Credit: The White House

The White House photographer Pete Souza writes "The President was ready to announce the news about the mission against Osama bin Laden and was putting the finishing touches on his statement in the Outer Oval Office. As he did so, the networks broke in with bulletins confirming that bin Laden had been killed and a photograph of him appeared on the television screen in the background near the Vice President and Press Secretary Jay Carney."

Photo Credit: The White House

Souza says "One of the most memorable moments of the year was when the President hugged Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as he walked onto the floor of the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol to deliver his annual State of the Union address."

Photo Credit: The White House

Pete Souza reveals an interesting fact about this photo: "The President hugs the First Lady after she had introduced him at a campaign event in Davenport, Iowa. The campaign tweeted a similar photo from the campaign photographer on election night and a lot of people thought it was taken on election day."

Photo Credit: The White House

Basketball fans cheer for the Obamas as they kiss for the kiss cam. 

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama serenades Michelle on her birthday. 

Photo Credit: Pete Souza

President Obama sits for a 3D portrait at the Smithsonian.

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama takes a detour after the NATO summit to visit Stonehenge. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Barack Obama can't keep a straight face while recording a Holiday video at the White House. 

Photo Credit: The White House

Mr. President speaks at the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the Selma to Montgomery civil-rights marches.

Photo Credit: The White House

President Barack Obama and President Raúl Castro of Cuba shake hands during the Summit of the Americas at the Atlapa Convention Center in Panama City, Panama on  April 11, 2015.

Photo Credit: The White House

President Obama stands at attention while Vice President Biden announces he will not be running for President.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

U.S. President Barack Obama collects the folio holding the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 after signing it into law in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, November 2, 2015.

Phto credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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