Obama reiterates determination to achieve ME peace

While giving speech in boyhood home of Indonesia, US president appeals to Muslims to forge common ground with US against terrorism.

November 10, 2010 05:32
2 minute read.
U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michell

Obama Indonesia 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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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.

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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 grandparents.

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