Obama will travel to Egypt to address Muslim world

McClatchy NewspapersMay 8, 2009 

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will go to Egypt on June 4 to deliver a long-planned major speech aimed at Muslims worldwide.

The speech is expected to be delivered in Cairo, historically the Arabic center of intellectual thought in the Muslim world, but a location has not been finalized, according to White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

Gibbs called Egypt "a country that in many ways represents the heart of the Arab world" and said the speech was not aimed at Muslim leaders so much as the populace. It represents "a continuing effort by this president and this White House to demonstrate how we can work together to ensure the safety and security and the future well-being through hope and opportunity of the children of this country and of the Muslim world."

The Egyptian government, led by 81-year-old Hosni Mubarak, is widely criticized for its repressive regime and poor human rights record, issues that Obama must finesse in his remarks.

Gibbs said the choice of the country "is not about who the leaders might be of any certain country.

This is about the way the president views this relationship, the way he thinks this country should view that relationship and the shared and common progress that we can make to strengthen that relationship and — and fight extremism."

After Egypt, Obama will travel to Germany to visit the site of the Buchenwald concentration camp, which a great uncle of his helped to liberate, and then to France, for the 65th anniversary of D-Day.

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