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March 23, 2013

Obama Leaves Jordan at End of Middle East Tour

by VOA News

U.S. President Barack Obama left Jordan on Saturday, ending a four-day Middle East tour that included his first presidential trip to Israel and efforts to revive the Middle East peace process.

Obama flew back to the United States Saturday after leaving an airport in Amman.

Earlier Saturday, President Obama visited Petra, Jordan's fabled ancient city hewn out of rock.

On Friday, he held talks with Jordan's King Abdullah about the refugee crisis spawned by neighboring Syria's civil war.  The U.S. leader also met separately Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.  

U.S. officials say Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to meet separately with the two Middle East leaders late Saturday to "continue the conversations" they had with President Obama.

Also Friday, in a deal brokered by the U.S. president, Netanyahu apologized to Turkey for a deadly 2010 Israeli maritime commando raid.  The apology ended a nearly three-year diplomatic rift between the once-close allies.

Netanyahu also offered compensation to families of the nine Turkish nationals killed in the raid.

Obama's four-day trip included warnings to Iran on its nuclear program.  He said "all options are on the table" regarding efforts to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.