Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama continued his tour of
the Middle East Tuesday with a stop in Jordan. The situation in Iraq
and Afghanistan, and the Middle East peace process topped the agenda,
as we hear from Robert Berger in the Jordanian capital, Amman.
Obama arrived in Jordan after visiting Afghanistan and Iraq. In his
first news conference of the tour, he said the security situation in
Iraq has improved and therefore the time is coming for United States
forces to pull out. "I welcome the growing consensus in the United
States and Iraq for a timeline. My view, based on the advice of
military experts, is that we can redeploy safely in 16 months, so that
our combat brigades are out of Iraq in 2010," he said.
same time, Obama said he supports sending additional U.S. troops to
Afghanistan. "We went to Afghanistan, first, because it is the central
front in the war against terrorism. And I'm glad that there is a
growing consensus back home that we need more resources in Afghanistan.
We should not wait any longer to provide them," he said.
to the Israeli-Palestinian track, Obama said the peace process would be
a priority of his administration. He said Israel will remain a strong
ally of the United States, "That policy is not going to change."
he promised a balanced approach. "What I think can change is the
ability of the United States government and a United States president
to be actively engaged with the peace process and to be concerned and
recognize the legitimate difficulties that the Palestinian people are
experiencing right now," he said.
Obama discussed the peace
process with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman. On Wednesday, he will
hold separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Jerusalem
and the West Bank.