DUBAI: U.S. President Barack Obama has chosen Egypt as the country for delivering his much-awaited address to a global Muslim audience.
Mr. Obama will deliver his speech on June 4, the White House has announced.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the speech was not directed at leaders. “This is a speech to many, many people and a continuing effort by this President and this White House to demonstrate how we can work together to ensure the safety and security and the future well-being, through hope and opportunity, of the children of this country and of the Muslim world.”
Analysts point out that there have been three major factors that have embittered relations between large sections of the Muslim community and the United States. These include the U.S. war in Iraq, the abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison and Washington’s lopsided ties favouring Israel at the cost of the well-being of Palestinians. Soon after the inauguration of his presidency, Mr. Obama announced his decision to close within a year, the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba and banned torture that was being used during interrogation.
Mr. Obama’s speech is expected to build on his recent address in Turkey where he said the U.S. “is not and never will be at war with Islam.” Diplomatic sources said the U.S. President’s visit to Egypt is also aimed at reassuring Cairo that it is very much a part of international diplomacy, which is at play in West Asia. In recent months, Turkey has enhanced its profile in the region substantially.
Ankara has mediated in talks aimed at ending the Israel-Syria dispute over the Golan Heights. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also showed considerable activism during the 22-day war in Gaza, where he strongly criticised Israel for its military actions against civilians in the Palestinian coastal strip.
U.S. administration officials were quoted as saying that Mr. Obama would not be visiting Israel during the visit.
Corrections and Clarifications
The Turkish President is Abdullah Güe sixth paragraph of a report,"Obama to address Muslims from Egypt" (May 11, 2009), had it as "TurkishPresident Recep Tayyip Erdogan". Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the Turkish PrimeMinister.