President Barack Obama will fly into Egypt today where he will deliver a high-profile speech aimed at building bridges with the Muslim world.
In the second leg of a four-day overseas trip, Mr Obama is due to hold bilateral talks with President Hosni Mubarak before making the address at Cairo University.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs has said that the speech would serve as Mr Obama’s “personal commitment to engagement” with the Muslim world, based on “mutual interest and mutual respect”.
It is likely to address a number of topics of mutual concern including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and stalled peace process.
The two-day tour of the Middle East is seen as a continuation of the president’s efforts to “change the conversation” with the Islamic community, one aide to the administration has said.
Yesterday, Mr Obama met King Abdullah in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
“I’m confident that working together, the United States and Saudi Arabia can make progress on a whole host of issues and mutual interest,” the travelling US head of state said.
Explaining the reasoning for the stop-off in Riyadh, Mr Obama told reporters: “I thought it was very important to come to the place where Islam began and to seek His Majesty’s counsel and to discuss with him many of the issues that we confront here in the Middle East.”
After delivering his remarks at Cairo University, Mr Obama will tour the Pyramids and Sphinx before heading off to Germany for a two day European visit.
Arriving in Germany tomorrow, the president will visit Buchenwald, a Second World War concentration camp liberated by US troops in 1945.
The following day will see Mr Obama attend events to commemorate the D-Day landings in Normandy.