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Obama To Give Major Address In Egypt

(AP Photo/Michal Kamaryt, CTK)

President Barack Obama will give a major speech on U.S. relations with the Muslim world from Egypt next month, the White House said Friday.

Mr. Obama had promised during his presidential campaign to give such an address from a Muslim state within the first months of his presidency.

The speech will take place on June 4, but the exact location within Egypt from which it will be delivered has yet to be determined, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

"I think in many ways, this is the heart of the Arab world," Gibbs said. He added, however, that the address is intended for the entire Muslim world, not simply Arab Muslims. It is part of Mr. Obama's continuing effort to reach out to Muslims, as he did in a speech he gave in Turkey last month.

The trip will nevertheless put a spotlight on Mr. Obama's approach to addressing human rights issues in Egypt. After then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave a speech in Cairo in 2005 calling for democratic reforms in the country, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak turned a cold shoulder to the Bush administration. Gibbs said the president has issues of democracy and human rights on his mind and that they will be discussed further on this trip.

Gibbs played down the relationship between Mr. Obama and Mubarak and emphasized the two country's common goal of fighting extremism.

"In many ways, this isn't a speech to leaders," he said. "This is a speech to many, many people ...to demonstrate how we can work together to ensure the safety and security...of the children of this country and of the Muslim world."

During his overseas travel next month, the president will visit Germany and France in addition to Egypt, Gibbs said.