Obama speech on Arab world in coming days: report

© AFP/File Mandel Ngan


WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama’s long-expected speech on turmoil in the Arab world could take place as soon as next week, in the aftermath of the death of Osama bin Laden, a report said Wednesday.

Obama’s address will focus on the popular uprisings, violence and political change sweeping the region, and also come at a time of deep uncertainty for his hopes of renewing talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the address, predicted back in April by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, could come as soon as next week, before Obama leaves on a Europe trip, which includes the G8 summit in France.

An official said that no firm date had yet been set for the speech.

Obama is believed likely to make the case that uprisings by the people of Middle Eastern nations against long-ruling autocrats reveal the ideology of bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda movement to be redundant.

 “It’s an interesting coincidence of timing — that he is killed at the same time that you have a model emerging in the region of change that is completely the opposite of bin Laden’s model,” Ben Rhodes, a top Obama foreign policy advisor, told the Journal.

Bin Laden perished in a US special forces raid at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan early on May 2, ending a 10-year manhunt for the mastermind of the September 11 attacks in 2001 and other strikes against the United States.

Officials however cautioned that the speech should not be styled as an address to the “Muslim world” in the same vein as the speech in Cairo in 2009.

It was also unclear whether Obama would make any proposals to reinvigorate the stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks which broke down last year in a row over settlements.

The Palestinian unity deal between the Fatah faction and the Hamas militant organization, which Israel and Washington consider a terrorist group, has cast deep doubt over the chances of a US-brokered process resuming.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to arrive in Washington late next week and will hold talks with Obama on May 20 at the White House and make a major address to the US Congress.

Obama is also due to meet Jordan’s King Abdullah II at the White House on May 17.

The president’s speech will come at a time of great tumult throughout the Muslim world, after uprisings overthrew longtime dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, and with unrest raging in Libya, Bahrain, Syria and Yemen.

© AFP — Published at Activist Post with license

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