Arabs and Muslims are praising U.S. President Barack Obama's pledge to rebuild relations between the United States and the Islamic world.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi says Mr. Obama is a flicker of hope in the middle of what Mr. Gadhafi called an "imperialist" environment.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit says President Obama's remarks are an "important first step" toward easing tensions that have existed in recent years between Muslim nations and the West.

Mr. Obama promised, during a stop this week in Turkey, a new chapter in U.S. engagement with Muslims and the rest of the world, and he declared that the U.S. will never be at war with Islam.

In an interview with a Lebanese newspaper, As-Safir, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem welcomed Mr. Obama's emphasis on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. But al-Moallem said it remains to be seen how the United States will deal with the new right-wing Israeli government to implement the two-state approach.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not endorsed Palestinian statehood since taking office last week. His foreign minister, ultra-nationalist Avigdor Lieberman, has renounced peace efforts by Israel's previous government and said making concessions to the Palestinians would only result in more war.