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Obama ends last leg of his Middle East, European tour
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2008-07-28 14:43
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is winding up the last leg of his "world tour" to the Middle East and Europe designed to boost his say in foreign affairs amid a presidential campaign dead heat back in the United States.

On Saturday, Obama told a news conference that "the reason that I thought this trip was important is that I am convinced that many issues that we face at home are not going to be solved as effectively unless we have strong partners abroad."

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is winding up the last leg of his "world tour" to the Middle East and Europe designed to boost his say in foreign affairs amid a presidential campaign dead heat back in the United States.

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown (L) shows U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama the terrace at 10 Downing Street in London, July 26, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

When meeting with British Prime Minister Gorden Brown Saturday, he said "We share the same language and the same belief" and Britain and the United States have gone through the world wars together and share same views on the world order."

In a move to respond to criticism that he is "naive and innocent" in foreign policy, Obama also discussed climate change, international terrorism and the Middle East situation with Brown and reiterated his call for increasing the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

During his visit to France, Obama held discussions with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is winding up the last leg of his "world tour" to the Middle East and Europe designed to boost his say in foreign affairs amid a presidential campaign dead heat back in the United States.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama(L) holds a joint news conference with France's President Nicolas Sarkozy at Elysee Palace in Paris July 25, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Speaking at a joint press conference, Sarkozy said there was a "great convergence of views" with Obama and that they had much to do in dealing with issues such as climate change, reform of world institutions and the maintenance of world peace.

In Germany, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had "very open and in-depth" talks with Obama on Thursday.

During the one-hour talks, Merkel and Obama exchanged views on a wide range of key international issues, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East peace process.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is winding up the last leg of his "world tour" to the Middle East and Europe designed to boost his say in foreign affairs amid a presidential campaign dead heat back in the United States.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama poses with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the chancellery in Berlin, in front of Reichstag building, July 24, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


They also discussed the trans-Atlantic economic partnership, climate change and energy issues, the state of the global economy and the need for cooperation on the international level and in international organizations to tackle important global issues.

During his 30-hour stay at Israel and the Palestinian territory, the White House hopeful projected himself as an active and constructive partner in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and as a steadfast opponent to a nuclear Iran.

"I'm here on this trip to reaffirm the special relationship between Israel and the United States and my abiding commitment to Israel's security and my hope that I can serve as an effective partner, whether as a U.S. senator or as president," he told Israeli President Shimon Peres on Wednesday.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is winding up the last leg of his "world tour" to the Middle East and Europe designed to boost his say in foreign affairs amid a presidential campaign dead heat back in the United States.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (R) shakes hands with U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) during their meeting at the Palestinian Authority headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah July 23, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Obama also made a gesture to the Palestinians, pledging active and constructive involvement in the protracted Middle East peace process.

In a brief visit to the West Bank, Obama assured Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he would be "a constructive partner in the peace process" and "would not waste a minute if elected."

He emphasized that what Israelis and Palestinians need is a true and lasting peace instead of a piece of paper, and that it is in Israel's interests to establish "a viable, peaceful Palestine."

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is winding up the last leg of his "world tour" to the Middle East and Europe designed to boost his say in foreign affairs amid a presidential campaign dead heat back in the United States.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem July 23, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Turning to another front that manifests the U.S.-Israeli alliance, Obama said he would "take no options off the table" to prevent a nuclear Iran.

"A nuclear Iran would be a game-changing situation, not just in the Middle East, but around the world," said Obama. "A nuclear Iran would pose a grave threat, and the world must prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

Asked about his previously stated notion of having talks with Iranian leaders, Obama said he still holds that if it would promote the national security interests of the United States, he would be willing to meet with any leader.

"We should exhaust every possible avenue" on Iran, dealing with the issue with "carrots and sticks," said the candidate, adding that if Iran rejects the offers, then "we will be in a stronger position" to call on the international community to respond collectively against the Islamic republic.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is winding up the last leg of his "world tour" to the Middle East and Europe designed to boost his say in foreign affairs amid a presidential campaign dead heat back in the United States.

Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (R) speaks with U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama (L) in Baghdad July 21, 2008.  (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


Obama arrived in Iraq Monday morning after a visit to Afghanistan, the first leg of his Middle East and European tour.

The Democratic presidential candidate has promised, if elected, he will withdraw the U.S. troops from Iraq within 16 months, and send more troops to Afghanistan where security situation is getting worse.

In addition, Obama also promised long-term support to Afghanistan when he met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the Presidential Palace on Sunday.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is winding up the last leg of his "world tour" to the Middle East and Europe designed to boost his say in foreign affairs amid a presidential campaign dead heat back in the United States.

U.S Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama (R) and Afghan President Hamid Karzai walk at the presidential palace in Kabul July 20, 2008.  (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Matters pertaining situation in Afghanistan, regional stability, fight against drug, war on terror and enhancing Kabul-Washington relations were discussed.

Both sides had exchanged views on boosting economic relations between Afghanistan and the United States and on bolstering reconstruction process of the post-Taliban nation in the meeting.

Obama has embarked on a multi-stop overseas trip for meetings with a number of heads of states since last week.

The trip is aimed to bolster the U.S. presidential hopeful's credentials in foreign policy and national security, which is considered his "weak point" in comparison to his Republican rival John McCain.

In a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, 48 percent of registered voters said Obama would make a good commander in chief, compared with 72 percent for McCain.

Source:Xinhuanet 
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