Tuesday, January 27, 2009


President Barack Obama gave his first formal television interview as president to an Arabic cable TV network, saying that when it comes to Middle East matters "all too often the United States starts by dictating." Obama taped the interview with the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya network, just prior to special envoy George Mitchell's first official trip abroad.
Noting that he has lived in Muslim countries and has Muslim family members, Obama said: "My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the American's are not your enemy." He urged Muslims to judge him by his actions, pointing to the decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, where detainees in the U.S. war on terror are held. He said he also would begin to implement his pledge to draw down troops in Iraq.
Obama reiterated that America was prepared to extend a hand of peace to Iran if it "unclenched its fist." Americans are not your enemy." "It is important for us to be willing to talk to Iran, to express very clearly where our differences are, but (also) where there are potential avenues for progress.

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