Obama Reaches Out to Muslim Nations with Business Exchanges

Washington, April 27 (IANS) Keeping up his promise last year in Cairo, President Obama has announced plans to set up exchange programmes with business people throughout the Muslim world.

"The new beginning we seek is not only possible, it has already begun," Obama Monday told the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship with over 250 delegates from 50 countries, including six from India, attending.

Representing India are Irfan Alam, Shahnaz Husain, Ramachandra Kavil, Shaffi Mather, Shaheen Mistri and Sirajuddin Qureshi, selected for "their innovative ideas and ability to promote entrepreneurship, commitment to community service amongst other parameters."

As part of the exchange programmes Obama plugged $2 billion in private capital from the Global Technology and Innovation Fund to "unlock new opportunities for people across our countries in sectors like telecommunications, healthcare, education, and infrastructure."

Obama who had pitched the summit as one of the ideas in his Cairo speech outlining "a new beginning between the United States and Muslim communities," said: "Over the past year the United States has been reaching out and listening."

That includes winding down the war in Iraq, working with Afghanistan and Pakistan to "isolate violent extremists," and seeking a peaceful two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, Obama said.

There has also been cultural outreach, he said-including a comic book series Dr. Naif al-Mutawa of Kuwait in which Superman and Batman work with their Muslim counterparts. "And I hear they're making progress, too."

"We know that over the years, despite all we have in common, the United States and Muslim communities around the world too often fell victim to mutual mistrust," Obama said.

"That is why I went to Cairo nearly one year ago and called for a new beginning between the United States and Muslim communities-a new beginning based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

I knew that this vision would not be fulfilled in a single year, or even several. But I knew we had to begin and that all of us have responsibilities to fulfil."

Obama announced that the same summit will be hosted next year in Turkey as a way to "sustain the momentum," of this week's summit.


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Title: Obama Reaches Out to Muslim Nations with Business Exchanges

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