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OBAMA TOUR MID EAST TO MEND TIES WITH MUSLIMS

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama departs for the Middle East and Europe on Tuesday for four-day visit.
His first stop, will be in Saudi Arabia, where he will hold talks with King Abdullah on issues like the Mideast peace process, Iran's nuclear program and energy prices.
Obama will try to repair U.S. ties to the Islamic world this week in a speech from the Middle East that aides say will reach out to Muslims but deal with tough issues like the peace process and violent extremism.
He will use his address to try to repair some of the damage to America's image caused by the Iraq war, U.S. treatment of military detainees and the lack of progress in Mideast peace talks.

Asked on Monday if the continuing U.S. conflict in Afghanistan would undermine his effort to engage the Islamic world, Obama said the United States had no territorial ambitions in Afghanistan and only wanted to prevent al Qaeda from launching another Sept. 11-style attack.
"What we want is simply that people aren't hanging out in Afghanistan who are plotting to bomb the United States," Obama told National Public Radio. "That's a fairly modest goal that other Muslim countries should be able to understand.

The success of the U.S. leader's diplomatic initiatives in the region like advancing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and halting Iran's nuclear program may depend on how well Obama, whose father was a Muslim and who lived in Indonesia as a boy, is able to improve U.S.-Islamic ties.
Source: The Star Online
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