Obama picks Egypt as speech venue

U.S President Barack Obama will visit Egypt this month to deliver his promised address to the Muslim World, culminating a long and politically sensitive selection process by choosing Egypt as his venue

Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak has cancelled his visit to the U.S scheduled last month due to the death of his grandson, the White House spokesman said.
“The president and first lady pass their condolences to President Mubarak and his family on the tragic and untimely death of their grandson,” Robert Gibbs, White House Press Secretary, told reporters.

On the other hand, President Obama planed to deliver a speech in Egypt on U.S. relations with the Muslim World when he sets out on an overseas trip early this month.
Obama had promised to make an Arab country the setting for a major speech on U.S. relations with the Muslim World. Asked about the reason behind choosing Egypt, Gibbs said the country in many ways represents the “heart of the Arab World.”

U.S support for Mubarak and other Arab leaders has been interpreted across the Middle East as a hypocritical element of American foreign policy, particularly over the past eight years, during which the Bush administration made promoting democracy the centrepiece of its diplomacy in the region.

But Gibbs said that the selection of Egypt for the June 4th speech should not be viewed as an endorsement of Mubarak’s government. He said that Egypt “in many ways represents the heart of the Arab world” and noted that “the issues of democracy and human rights are things that are on the president’s mind, and we will have a chance to discuss those in more depth on the trip.”

“This is not a speech to leaders,” Gibbs highlighted. “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.”

Three key factors have contributed to millions of Muslims’ bitterness toward the U.S; the Bush administration’s war in Iraq; detention and interrogation policies (embodied by the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib) and a tilt toward Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians.

The U.S is placing great importance on improving relations with Egypt and with veteran Egyptian President Mubarak, after tensions during the Bush Administration.
On the other hand, the Zionist lobby in Washington launched an intensive campaign to oppose the decision made by Obama to visit Egypt where he will address the Islamic World. 

Bush administration officials said that this campaign will have no effect at all because the choice of Cairo came after a study of all the proposed alternatives, including the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, the largest Muslim country in terms of population and the country where Obama lived part of his childhood.

Western experts said that Obama kept in mind the U.S interests before anything else, when he chose Cairo to direct his speech to the Islamic world to achieve the greatest possible spread of the impact of his speech.

By Ahmed Morsy


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