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.
Barack 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.
At the 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.
Turning 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."
But 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.