|ISTANBUL- U.S. President Barack Obama sought a "new beginning" between the United States and Muslims in a historic speech on Thursday, and urged for compromise between Israel and Palestine in a two-state solution.
Below are reactions to his speech delivered from Cairo University in Egypt:
ABDULLAH GUL - TURKISH PRESIDENT
"I find his position on regional peace very appropriate ... With the messages and assurances he gave today, the US president showed that he is a constructive leader with whom Muslim countries can engage in partnership for peace and stability in the region."
"His speech was sincere, honest and realistic ... The fact that President Obama sincerely shares and personally expresses the feelings and thoughts of many citizens in Muslim countries is extremely promising."
NABIL ABU RDAINAH - SPOKESMAN FOR PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT
"His call for stopping settlement and for the establishment of a Palestinian state, and his reference to the suffering of Palestinians ... is a clear message to Israel that a just peace is built on the foundations of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital."
"President Obama's speech is a good start and an important step towards a new American policy."
FAWZI BARHUM – HAMAS SPOKESMAN
"It had many contradictions, all the while reflecting tangible change.”
ALI AL-DABBAGH - IRAQI GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN
"The speech was historic and important and reflects a positive direction for the new administration (in Washington) and it is a new start."
"The use of Koranic sayings plays a big part in a positive change of picture, but there is a necessity for action."
"The government of Iraq is comfortable with the clarity of the president in respecting commitments to Iraq and the timetable for withdrawal stipulated in the security pact."
"I think there is clear support of a right for a Palestinian state, and their right for a life, but Arabs are waiting for pressure to be exerted on Israel so it can stop its violations in Gaza and the West Bank."
MOHAMED HABIB - MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD DEPUTY LEADER
"It's a public relations address more than anything else."
"There's an unjust perspective on the part of the American president towards the Palestinian issue, one that does not differ from former President Bush's and the neoconservatives' perspective."
ERIC GOLDSTEIN - HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
"I think on human rights there were many things that were commendable. He was specific about settlements. He was specific about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. But it is disappointing that when he talked about democracy in the Muslim world he wasn't more specific about some of the problems."
"I don't expect that he would single out Egypt as the host country, but he might have mentioned for example a state of emergency that has been in effect for 30 years. And not just in Egypt but in other countries. He could have mentioned the imprisonment of dissidents."
HAZIM AL-NUAIMI - ANALYST AT BAGHDAD UNIVERSITY
"He gave nothing new to Iraqis. He gave one promise, to respect the rights of minorities and work with consensus. In all he says, he tries to remove himself from all that happened in Iraq."
ODED ERAN – INSTITUDE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES, DIRECTOR, ISRAEL
"The U.S. has always been an ally of Israel and it has always supported us in the challenges we faced. The issue of settlements is an important issue but there are many other issues as well. Israeli government should remove these settlements completely."
"I agree with most of the points Obama made in reference to Israeli-Palestine issue, such as his emphasis on dialogue, his emphasis that both sides should respect each other and his statement that roadmap should be the basis."
IAN O. LESSER – GERMAN MARSHALL FUND OF THE UNITED STATES, SENIOR TRANSATLATIC FELLOW, US
"The new Obama administration changed public opinion about the United States seriously not only in the Muslim world but also in Europe as well."
"Washington has always been committed to two states solution in the Israeli-Palestine conflict, however both previous administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush waited too long until everything goes out of order. Obama acted very early on this issue and made this issue one of its top priorities in U.S. foreign policy since he came to power.”
STEFANIE BABST – DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
"Washington is committed to work with its partners in the Middle East and we would need to move on that. In this respect, I believe that his message is much more important than concrete results. "