Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Obama TV Interview

The first one goes to....Al-Arabiya news channel. From The New York Times:

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- President Barack Obama on Tuesday chose an Arabic satellite TV network for his first formal television interview as president, delivering a message to the Muslim world that ''Americans are not your enemy.''

The interview underscored Obama's commitment to repair relations with the Muslim world that have suffered under the previous administration.

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Obama called for a new partnership with the Muslim world ''based on mutual respect and mutual interest.'' He talked about growing up in Indonesia, the Muslim world's most populous nation, and noted that he has Muslim relatives.

The new president said he felt it was important to ''get engaged right away'' in the Middle East and had directed Mitchell to talk to ''all the major parties involved.'' His administration would craft an approach after that, he said in the interview.

''What I told him is start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating,'' Obama told the interviewer.

The president reiterated the U.S. commitment to Israel as an ally and to its right to defend itself. But he suggested that both Israel and the Palestinians have hard choices to make.

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