In Indonesia Homecoming, President Obama Again Reaches Out To Muslim World
President Obama addressed the Israeli-Palestinian dispute Tuesday during a homecoming visit to Indonesia, the predominantly Muslim nation where Obama spent four years of his childhood.
During a joint press conference with Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Obama expressed deep concern that Israelis and Palestinians are not making the “extra effort” to achieve a breakthrough in Middle East peace talks.
Obama said he hasn't seen the kind of progress in negotiations that "could finally create a framework for a secure Israel living side by side in peace with a sovereign Palestine."
These comments come at a time when the world’s largest Muslim majority nation has expressed doubts about Obama’s ability to improve policies in the Middle East.
The president is scheduled to tour the nation’s largest mosque and give a speech, but officials now say the mosque tour is up in the air due to threatening weather. Obama’s trip will be cut a few hours short in an effort to avoid volcanic ash from the eruptions of Mount Merapi. His next stop is Seoul, where he will attend the G-20 conference of world leaders.
The president is making outreach to the Muslim world the theme of his brief visit to Indonesia. He closed his remarks at Tuesday’s news conference with the Muslim salute “salaam aleikum,” and added that he intended to reshape American relations
with Muslim nations so they were not “focused solely on security issues” but rather on expanded cooperation across a broad range of areas, from science to education.
Aides say the speech he plans to give Wednesday at the University of Indonesia will build on one he delivered in Cairo last year, in which he called for “a new beginning” with the Muslim world.
At Tuesday’s news conference, Obama was asked to assess his progress in Muslim relations and acknowledged, “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”