US President Obama arrives in Egypt
Published: Jun 04, 2009 02:32 PM Updated: May 25, 2011 12:47 PM

US President Barack Obama arrived Thursday morning in Cairo, where he will hold talks with his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak and deliver a much-anticipated speech to the Muslim world in Cairo University.

Obama stepped out of the Air Force One and down the ramp quickly, waving hands to the crowds welcoming him.

He was received by the Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit, instead of Mubarak as media earlier reported, before getting into the car heading for the al-Qobbah palace where he will meet with Mubarak.

The US president will give his long-awaited key speech to the Muslim world at about 1:10 p.m. (1010 GMT), according to a schedule obtained by Xinhua. The speech had been promised by Obama after he assumed office in January, a move viewed as his reachout to the Muslims to mend the US-Muslim ties tarnished by his predecessor's administration.

Earlier in April, Obama said during his visit to Turkey that his country "is not and will never be at war with Islam," which is lauded by Cairo as the "first and significant" step for easing the tensions between the United States and the Muslim world.

Cairo is the second leg of Obama's Middle East tour. On Wednesday, he held talks in Riyadh with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, an oil power and US regional ally which proposed the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002.

Describing Abdullah as "wise and gracious," Obama said "it is very important to come to the place where Islam began and to seek his majesty's counsel."

For his part, Abdullah said Obama "deserves this position."

Shortly after Obama's arrival in Riyadh, al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden said in a tape broadcasted by pan-Arab TV channel al-Jazeera that the US president will follow the steps of his predecessor George W. Bush.

"He (Obama) has chosen to follow the steps of his predecessor in hostility against Muslims," bin Laden said in the tape, which was apparently aimed at Obama's outreach to the Islamic world.

Bin Laden said that Obama and Bush planted the seeds of hatred and revenge toward Americans.

He also threatened to revenge Americans for the consequences of their administration's policies.

Obama's Cairo visit is part of a Mideast-Europe tour which will also take him to Germany and France.

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