Nation
7:04 am
Tue June 2, 2009

Obama heads for Mideast in Muslim outreach effort

WASHINGTON (AP) – WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama heads for Saudi Arabia today on his latest mission to improve battered ties with the Muslim world.

He'll meet with Saudi King Abdullah in Riyahd at the start of the six-day, four-country trip. It's his second meeting with the king in three months. The two leaders are expected to discuss issues, including rising oil prices and Saudi concerns that Iran may be secretly developing a nuclear bomb.

From there he'll head to Egypt, where he'll make a long-promised and much anticipated speech, extending a hand of friendship to the world's 1.5 billion Muslims. While expectations are high, White House aides caution that many Muslims have felt scorned by the U.S. for years, and one speech will not suddenly lift that cloud.

Analysts say he'll find a hopeful audience but, given Washington's support of Israel and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, a skeptical one as well.