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Obama Ending Mideast Trip With Tour Of Petra

Barack Obama is closing his first Mideast trip as president with a visit to Petra, Jordan's fabled ancient city.

An unexpected sandstorm that forced Obama to change some travel plans on Friday had led him to cautiously state that the tour of Petra would happen "weather permitting."

The weather cooperated on Saturday, allowing Marine One to touch down near Petra after an hour-long flight from Amman, Jordan's capital. Overcast skies in Amman threatened to upend Obama's travel plans but the weather improved during the flight across Jordan's rugged countryside.

Petra was carved into the rose-red stone by the Nabataeans more than 2,000 years ago. The ancient Arabs turned the city into a critical junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome.

Petra is Jordan's most popular tourist attraction, drawing more than a half million visitors each year since 2007. Petra may be familiar to many people who saw the 1989 movie, "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." Some scenes were filmed in the ancient city.

Obama's 24-hour visit to Jordan - he arrived in the country on Friday - is his final stop on a four-day trip to the Middle East, the first foreign excursion of his second term. It also was his first visit as president to Israel and Jordan.

Obama spent the bulk of his time in Israel, where held several meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and sought through a speech and other public remarks to reassure an anxious public that he is committed to the country's security.

He also made a brief stop in the West Bank city of Ramallah for meetings with Palestinian leaders.

In Amman, Obama met with King Abdullah II.


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