JAKARTA, Indonesia — US President Barack Obama on Wednesday reiterated his determination to push past obstacles to peace in the Middle East.
In a speech at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, Obama said the United States has been persistent in the pursuit of peace, despite a history of false starts and setbacks.RELATED:Obama makes long-awaited return to IndonesiaThe Region: Is Obama a pragmatic politician or ideologue?
The US president said enormous obstacles remain, but the US is committed to overcoming them.
Obama added that the US will spare no effort to reach the goal of two
states — Israel and Palestine — living side by side in peace.
In the Muslim nation that was his boyhood home, Obama acknowledged
Wednesday that US relations are still frayed with the Islamic world
despite his best efforts at repair. He urged all sides to look beyond
"suspicion and mistrust" to forge common ground against terrorism.
Forcefully returning to a theme he sounded last year in visits to Turkey
and Egypt, Obama said: "I have made it clear that America is not and
never will be at war with Islam. ... Those who want to build must not
cede ground to terrorists who seek to destroy."
Beaming with pride, Obama delivered perhaps the most intensely personal
speech of his presidency, speaking phrases in Indonesian to a cheering
crowd of young people who claimed him as their own.
"Let me begin with a simple statement: Indonesia is part of me," he said
in Indonesian during a morning speech at the University of Indonesia.
He praised the world's most populous Muslim nation for standing its
ground against "violent extremism" and said: "All of us must defeat
al-Qaida and its affiliates, who have no claim to be leaders of any
religion. ... This is not a task for America alone."
Obama moved to Indonesia as a 6-year-old and lived with his mother,
Stanley Ann Dunham, and Indonesian stepfather, Lolo Soetoro. "While my
stepfather, like most Indonesians, was raised a Muslim, he firmly
believed that all religions were worthy of respect," Obama said.
Obama, a Christian, attended public and Catholic schools while in
Indonesia. He returned to Hawaii when he was 10 to live with his