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Obama in Germany After Calling for 'New Beginning' in US-Muslim Ties


U.S. President Barack Obama has arrived in Germany on the latest leg of his multi-country tour, after calling for "a new beginning" in relations between the United States and the world's one billion Muslims.

While in Germany and later France, Mr. Obama plans to meet with European leaders and attend ceremonies marking the 65th anniversary of D-Day, the allied forces' landing in Normandy that helped lead to victory in World War II.

In a speech at Cairo University in Egypt Thursday, Mr. Obama said the cycle of "suspicion and discord" between the U.S. and Muslims must end.

He said violent extremists have exploited tensions between Muslims and the West. Quoting from the Koran (the Muslim holy book), he said the United States and the Muslim world must work together to confront extremism in all its forms.

Mr. Obama noted his plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and to leave Iraq for Iraqis. He said the U.S. wants its troops in Afghanistan to return home too, but he says he is committed to continuing the fight against extremists there determined to kill Americans and others.

He called the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a major source of tension and reiterated the need for a separate Palestinian state alongside Israel. President Obama says Palestinians must abandon violence and Israelis must acknowledge Palestine's right to exist.

Mr. Obama also said the United States is ready to move forward with Iran and overcome decades of mistrust.

In general, Mr. Obama said he is committed to supporting governments based on democratic ideals of justice, transparency and freedom.

The president also called for religious tolerance and noted the importance of equality for women. His remarks in Egypt come as activists criticize the country's record on human rights and democracy.

Before the address, Mr. Obama met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and said the U.S. is committed to a partnership with Middle East countries. The president traveled to Egypt after meeting with King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia.

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