U.S. Deputy Secretary William J. Burns today said the Obama Administration is committed on improving America’s relations, across not just the Middle East but the Islamic world in general.
During an interview with with five vernacular journalists in Mumbia, Mr. Burns said it’s not a secret that there are lots of people across the Muslim world who have questions and concerns about aspects of the American policy especially on the Palestinian issue.
“I think there were too many people who concluded, after they looked at the scenes of Tahrir Square last January and they didn’t see a lot of banners criticizing Israel or expressing solidarity with Palestinians, they concluded that somehow that issue didn’t matter so much anymore, and I think that’s profoundly mistaken.” -Mr. Burns
He stressed that it’s an issue that matters enormously and that United States has particular responsibility to show leadership in trying to bring about progress toward a two-state solution.
He cited that Iraq is now in the process of winding down a war that’s gone on for many years, American involvement in that war will leave behind an Iraq which has made considerable progress in recent years.
“Iraq still faces a number of challenges. It’s an Iraq that can still count on American support because, even though we are withdrawing military forces, which is a natural step now, we are moving into a new phase in which the United States will remain very much committed diplomatically and in terms of providing security assistance to a stable Iraq, because it is very important to the interests of the whole region.” -Mr. Burns
He noted that President Obama finally has been very clear in his support for the various kinds of efforts to promote democracy and to realize human dignity in a number of Arab states across the so-called Arab awakening or Arab Spring in the past year – whether it’s in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Libya and other places, and in Syria.
He stressed President Obama has made very clear that it’s the policy of United States to support the universal human rights of citizens of those countries and to support their aspirations for participation in their political systems, for respect for those human rights, for economic opportunity and we recognize this is just the beginning. He said this is a process that is going to be with us for many years.
“The United States is going to do everything it can to be supportive of a wave in that part of the world that we believe is going to bring a lot of short term complications. It’s not going to be easy, but I think holds enormous promise over the long run for peoples in that region.” -Mr. Burns