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Obama hopes to help open Mideast dialogue

world Updated: Jun 02, 2009 21:48 IST

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US President Barack Obama has given a preview of the speech he plans to deliver in Cairo this week, saying in an interview that he hopes the address will start a new dialogue between the United States and Muslim countries.

Obama said in an interview with the BBC that was broadcast Tuesday that he is trying to lessen "misapprehensions" that Westerners and Muslims abroad hold about one another. The president is due to head to the Mideast Tuesday night and to deliver his speech in Cairo on Thursday.

The speech in Cairo follows other steps Obama has taken to improve relations with Muslims abroad, after eight years of Bush administration polices that drew widespread criticism in the Middle East.