Obama visits Petra Prior to Ending Mideast Visit
U.S. President Barack Obama ended his successful first Mideast trip with some sightseeing in Petra on Saturday. He marveled at the ancient city in Jordan as he completed his four-day trip to the Middle East.
The visit to Petra followed his visits to Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The diplomatic portion of the trip was capped off by Obama’s brokering of a new agreement between Turkey and Israel, but offered only symbolic gestures between Israel and the Palestinians over real peace.
Prior to going to see Petra, Obama increased his criticism of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, but would not commit to military aid for the rebels in Syria to help bring an end to the civil war of two years that has killed over 70,000 people.
Officials from the U.S. voiced quiet satisfaction with results of the first trip to Israel for Obama and his first international trip during his second term.
Obama was flown by helicopter to Petra and went on a walking tour of the city that is over 2,000 years old. Much of the city was carved out of sandstone cliffs.
The U.S. president had the place to himself as all ordinary tourists had to leave prior to his arrival. He was followed by a group of guards, but was able to enjoy and comment on how amazing the ruins were.
Obama arrived Friday night in Jordan and announced at that time the breakthrough between Turkey and Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu the Israeli Prime Minister apologized on behalf of Israel for the deaths of nine citizens of Turkey in a naval raid in 2010 on a flotilla bound for Gaza. The two countries promised the U.S. they would normalize relations.