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Speaking on MidEast, Obama Backs Palestinian State

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6 Apr 09 | Reuters

Following are quotes from U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech in Turkey’s parliament on Monday.

ON ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS

“The United States strongly supports the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. That is a goal shared by Palestinians, Israelis, and people of good will around the world. That is a goal that the parties agreed to in the Roadmap and at Annapolis. And that is a goal that I will actively pursue as president. We know that the road ahead will be difficult. Both Israelis and Palestinians must take the steps that are necessary to build confidence. Both must live up to the commitments they have made.”

MUSLIM WORLD

“Let me say this as clearly as I can: the United States is not at war with Islam. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical in rolling back a fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject. But I also want to be clear that America’s relationship with the Muslim world cannot and will not be based on opposition to al Qaeda. Far from it. We seek broad engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect. We will listen carefully, bridge misunderstanding, and seek common ground. We will be respectful, even when we do not agree. And we will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over so many centuries to shape the world for the better including my own country.

The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans. Many other Americans have Muslims in their family, or have lived in a Muslim-majority country I know, because I am one of them.”

ON IRAN

“The peace of the region will also be advanced if Iran forgoes any nuclear weapons ambitions (…) I have made it clear to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic that the United States seeks engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect. We want Iran to play its rightful role in the community of nations, with the economic and political integration that brings prosperity and security. Now, Iran’s leaders must choose whether they will try to build a weapon or build a better future for their people.”

ON SYRIA-ISRAEL TALKS

“We must pursue every opportunity for progress, as you (Turkey) have done by supporting negotiations between Syria and Israel. We must extend a hand to those Palestinians who are in need, while helping them strengthen institutions. And we must reject the use of terror, and recognize that Israel’s security concerns are legitimate.”

ON IRAQ AND PKK

“There is no excuse for terror against any nation. As president, and as a NATO ally, I pledge that you will have our support against the terrorist activities of the PKK. These efforts will be strengthened by the continued work to build ties of cooperation between Turkey, the Iraqi government, and Iraq’s Kurdish leaders, and by your continued efforts to promote education and opportunity for Turkey’s Kurds.”

ON TURKEY

“Turkey is a critical ally. Turkey is an important part of Europe. And Turkey and the United States must stand together and work together to overcome the challenges of our time.

I know there are those who like to debate Turkey’s future. They see your country at the crossroads of continents, and touched by the currents of history. They know that this has been a place where civilizations meet, and different peoples mingle. And they wonder whether you will be pulled in one direction or another. Here is what they don’t understand: Turkey’s greatness lies in your ability to be at the center of things. This is not where East and West divide it is where they come together.”

ON ARMENIA

“I know there are strong views in this chamber about the terrible events of 1915. While there has been a good deal of commentary about my views, this is really about how the Turkish and Armenian people deal with the past. And the best way forward for the Turkish and Armenian people is a process that works through the past in a way that is honest, open and constructive.

“…It speaks to Turkey’s leadership that you are poised to be the only country in the region to have normal and peaceful relations with all the South Caucasus nations. And to advance that peace, you can play a constructive role in helping to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which has continued for far too long.”

ON CYPRUS

“The United States is willing to offer all the help sought by the parties as they work toward a just and lasting settlement that reunifies Cyprus into a bizonal and bicommunal federation. These efforts speak to one part of the critical region that surrounds Turkey.”

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Written by Editors

6 April 2009 at 12:34 pm

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