President Obama Ends Middle East Trip With Tour Of Petra
President Obama capped off his pressure-filled visit to the Middle East on Saturday by playing tourist, visiting some of Jordan’s most impressive historic sites.
Obama devoted much of his four-day trip trying to improve relations with Israel and he also brokered a surprise peace deal between Israel and Turkey. The stakes were far lower at his final stop. Obama breathed a single word – “Amazing” – as he walked through the narrow, winding pathways of Jordan’s fabled city of Petra.
With a heavily-armed Secret Service detail trailing not far behind him, Obama stared up at cliffs of reddish rock and was heard saying “This is pretty spectacular.”
Dressed in khakis and hiking boots, Obama lingered in front of a building known as “The Treasury,” a Greek-style temple carved out of the cliff more than 2,000 years ago.
The awe-inspiring structure has long been the subject of mystery. It was featured in the film “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” and bullet holes can still be seen on its facade, evidence of real-life attempts to plunder its treasures.
Obama arrived in the ancient city after meeting with Jordan’s leader, King Abdullah II, in the nation’s capital of Amman.
His 24 hours in Jordan were in part spent reaffirming his support to the nation, which has been flooded with refugees from neighboring Syria’s civil war.
Jordan is also only one of two Arab states to have signed peace treaties with Israel, and Obama also met with Abdullah to stress the need for a peace deal between the Jewish state and the Palestinians.
Obama made the same pitch to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom he met repeatedly during his three days in Israel. Obama and his Israeli counterpart have not enjoyed the warmest relations, leading the president to frequently reassure nervous Israelis that the U.S. was committed to their security.
Obama also urged Netanyahu to call Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and apologize for a 2010 Israel commando raid on a Turkish ship that led to nine deaths.
The president was expected to return in Washington late Saturday.