US wants partnership with Muslim world based on respect: Obama (Lead)January 27th, 2009 - 5:11 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, Jan 27 (RIA Novosti) President Barack Obama has said that the US will seek to reach out to the Muslim world. During Monday night’s interview with the al-Arabiya news channel, Obama said that while Israel was a “strong ally of the United States”, his administration was ready to “initiate a new partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interest” with the Muslim world.
“My job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives. My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy,” Obama said, adding that “we sometimes make mistakes. We have not been perfect.”
He also said: “The United States has a stake in the well-being of the Muslim world… the language we use has to be a language of respect. I have Muslim members of my family. I have lived in Muslim countries.”
Obama had earlier pledged to address the Muslim world from a Muslim capital in his first 100 days in office. However, he declined to reveal the exact location of the promised speech during Monday’s interview.
On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Obama said: “All too often the United States starts by dictating… and we don’t always know all the factors that are involved. So let’s listen.”
The White House interview took place shortly after Obama had dispatched George J. Mitchell, his special envoy for Middle East peace, to the region.
“He’s going to be speaking to all the major parties involved. And he will then report back to me. From there we will formulate a specific response,” Obama said.
“I think it is possible for us to see a Palestinian state - I’m not going to put a time frame on it - that is contiguous, that allows freedom of movement for its people, that allows for trade with other countries, that allows the creation of businesses and commerce so that people have a better life,” he said.
On Iran, Obama called both the Iranian people and Persian civilization “great”.
However, he also said that, “Iran has acted in ways that’s not conducive to peace and prosperity in the region: their threats against Israel; their pursuit of a nuclear weapon which could potentially set off an arms race in the region that would make everybody less safe; their support of terrorist organizations in the past — none of these things have been helpful.”
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