Obama names US envoy to OIC

The OIC, based in the Saudi city of Jeddah, with its 57 members is the world's largest Islamic assembly.

Obama names US envoy to OIC

US President Barack Obama on Saturday named Rashad Hussain as his special envoy to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), aiming to build on pledges to restore ties with the Muslim world.

In a recorded video message to the seventh annual US-Islamic World Forum meeting in the Qatari capital, Obama said he wanted "to deepen partnerships with the Muslim world and to develop others."

"I'm proud to announce today that I am appointing my special envoy to the OIC Rashad Hussain," said Obama, who opened his message with the Muslim greeting of "Assalaamu Alaykum" (peace be with you).

"As an accomplished lawyer and a close and trusted member of my White House staff, Rashad has played a key role in developing the partnerships I called for in Cairo," Obama said.

In a speech in Cairo last June, Obama called for a "new beginning" in ties between the United States and Muslims, targeted by US policy of intimidation or by invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Since then, my administration has made a sustained effort to listen. We've held thousands of events and town halls ...in the United States and around the world ... And I look forward to continuing the dialogue during my visit to Indonesia next month," Obama said.

But, Muslims say they want to see actions, not words.

"And as a hafiz of the Koran, (Hussain) is a respected member of the American Muslim community, and I thank him for carrying forward this important work," Obama said in his message to the Doha meeting, using the term for someone who has mastered and memorised the holy book.

In 2008, President Bush named the first U.S. envoy to the OIC -- Sada Cumber, a Texas businessman.

"We have an unprecedented opportunity, through the framework laid in Cairo, for a comprehensive engagement with the Muslim world," Hussain told Reuters in Doha."

Hussain said he hopes to strengthen ties with Muslim nations in education, science and technology.

"I look forward to deepening those partnerships. The president has made it clear that we will be judged on our actions, on results," he said.

Hussain was named deputy associate counsel to Obama in 2009. He has served as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice and as assistant on the House Judiciary Committee, where he reviewed legislation such as the USA Patriot Act.

Hussain, who has a master's degree in public administration and in Arabic and Islamic studies from Harvard University, graduated from Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Obama, who has made the elusive search for Middle East peace a top priority of his administration, also renewed his commitment to seeking a two-state solution for the Palestinians.

"We remain unyielding in pursuit of a two-state solution that recognises the rights and security of Israelis and Palestinians," he vowed.

A year into his administration, Obama has yet to achieve any significant momentum on stalled peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and Muslim audiences are now less receptive to his promise of a "new beginning" with the Muslim world.

The OIC, based in the Saudi city of Jeddah, with its 57 members is the world's largest Islamic assembly.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to attend the conference on Sunday, and is due to hold talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan and others on key issues including Iran's nuclear drive and Middle East peace.

Agencies

Last Mod: 14 Şubat 2010, 13:48
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