(AFP) – Jan 30, 2008
PARIS (AFP) — US presidential hopeful Barack Obama has told a French magazine he wants to organise a summit of the Muslim world if he makes it to the White House.
Muslim and Western leaders would be invited to the summit for "a discussion about how we can prevent the widening misunderstandings and gaps between the Muslim world and the West," Obama said in the interview to Paris Match.
"I will ask them to join us in battling terrorism but we should also be willing to listen in terms of some of their concerns," he said in the interview to be released Thursday.
Obama, 46, is battling Hillary Clinton to stand as the Democratic party's candidate in the November presidential race.
Obama lived in predominantly Muslim Indonesia with his mother and a Muslim stepfather for four years as a child, but his parents were not religious and he was baptised as a Christian as an adult.
In the interview, Obama also said he wanted to shut down the US Guantanamo prison camp in Cuba and end the war in Iraq.
"As long as we are maintaining an occupation in Iraq, it's going to be hard to focus on other things," he said.
The senator who wants to become the first black US president praised French President Nicolas Sarkozy and said he would come to Paris to meet him if he wins the Democratic nomination.
"He is a man of enormous energy and enormous talent," said Obama of Sarkozy.
"I was impressed with his willingness to look at the issues that France faces in a new ways, not bound by tradition and dogmas.
"That is an important thing for any leader -- to be able to look at problems in a fresh way," he said.
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