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Obama says US, Malaysia can draw strength from ethnic and religious diversity

Published on Apr 27, 2014 12:46 AM

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - United States President Barack Obama, who on Saturday became the first sitting US president in nearly 50 years to visit moderate-Muslim Malaysia, said both the US and Malaysia can draw strength from ethnic and religious diversity.

"While we may be different as nations, our people have similar hopes and similar aspirations," Mr Obama said in a toast to Malaysia's King, Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah, at a state dinner. "We can draw strength in both our nations from our ethnic and religious diversity."

He also quickly expressed solidarity with his hosts over the mystery of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

US ties with economically successful, Malaysia have vastly improved after years of anti-US antagonism under former leader Mahathir Mohamad.

US President Barack Obama presenting a speech while Malaysian King Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah looks on during a state banquet at the National Palace in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on April 26, 2014. Mr Obama is the first US President to visit Malaysia as part of an Asian tour to forge alliances in more than three decades since former President Lyndon Johnson in 1966. -- PHOTO: EPA
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