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OIC chief says Obama speech marks 'new beginning'

The head of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference hailed on Friday President Barack Obama's speech to the Muslim world as a new beginning in US-Muslim relations.

world Updated: Jun 05, 2009 23:22 IST

The head of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference hailed on Friday President Barack Obama's speech to the Muslim world as a new beginning in US-Muslim relations.

"The speech clearly confirmed the desire of the US administration to make a new beginning in the relations between the US and the Muslim world," OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said in a statement.

He also said Obama "gave signals of a more balanced approach on the part of the US administration to the Middle East conflict, where an active US contribution as an honest broker is more vital than ever."

Ihsanoglu said the speech "provided a constructive and positive context for the US and the OIC... to develop their cooperation" and urged Washington to "take concrete steps in order not to let the president's speech become weakened in weight and significance."

He stressed that the OIC would now look to see how Washington follows up on this "declaration of good will" with policies and action.

Speaking at Cairo University on Thursday, Obama vowed in a landmark speech to the world's 1.5 billion Muslims to forge a new beginning for Islam and America, promising to purge years of suspicion and discord.

He also laid out a new blueprint for US Middle East policy, promising to end mistrust, forge a state for Palestinians and defuse a nuclear showdown with Iran.