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Cairo Steps Up Security Ahead of Obama Visit


Egypt has stepped up security in the capital, Cairo ahead of US President Barack Obama's much anticipated visit. Some experts describe the security arrangement as the biggest they have ever witnessed. The plan is expected to see a deployment of agents from various Egyptian security agencies and American protective services.

On his visit, President Obama will meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and give a much-anticipated speech to the Muslim world.

Middle East Times Claude editor Salhani says a large number of people expect President Obama to live up to his promise of a new relationship with the Arab world.

"I think it's only natural that they would step up security, given the president of the United States is going to visit. That is standard operating procedure in Egypt anytime they have important visitors, and least of all the president of the United States," Salhani said.

He said there might be some security concerns which might not be known to the public.

"There is always the unforeseen. We don't really know what the security forces know. They might have information that they don't share with us. So there might be something they know off that they are not telling us," he said.

Salhani said a recent survey shows that President Obama is enjoying popularity among the youth in the Middle East.

"This is based on a very unofficial poll that we have carried out in the region amongst young people. And they are all very excited," Salhani said.

He said there is anticipation among youth hoping to enjoy more freedom in their respective countries.

"They would like the president (Obama) to push the point that they want more freedom at home. And it is not just Egypt, but all the other countries in the region," he said.

Salhani said there are expectations among Middle Eastern countries that President Obama will offer a different approach in dealing with the Arab world.

"I think the leadership expects to hear something that would point to clarify US policy in the Middle East, particularly as far as Arab-Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are concerned or the lack of peace talks…and they hope that something said will be clarified and will push the process forward," Salhani said.

He said it's unlikely that President Obama would dabble in internal political dynamics in countries in the Middle East.

"I don't think he is going to delve into domestic policies. It is not something he should do or something he would do," he said.

Salhani said the American leader would extend a hand of friendship to the Muslim world.

"He will probably say something along the lines that United States is not an enemy of the Muslim world. And that the US wants to live in peace with the Muslim world," Salhani said.

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