Obama tours ancient Jordanian town of Petra on last leg of Mideast tour

PETRA, Jordan (AFP) - US President Barack Obama was touring the ancient Jordanian ruins at Petra on Saturday, on the final leg of a four-day Middle East tour dominated by his vow to defend Israel.

Mr Obama flew by helicopter to view the rose-coloured stone ruins of the ancient Nabataean city, after winds from a sandstorm abated and allowed him to make the 55-minute trip across the plains and mountains of Jordan.

On Friday, high winds in Israel forced Mr Obama to take his motorcade instead of his Marine One chopper to visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, on the West Bank on the last day of his trip to Israel.

There had been fears that his sight-seeing jaunt to Jordan would have to be cancelled because of the weather.

Mr Obama landed in the town of Petra and was to make the short trip by car to visit the famed tourist site.

He arrived in Jordan on Friday and had talks with King Abdullah II on the Syria refugee crisis in the country, on his new Middle East peace efforts and on other regional issues.

He is due to leave Amman for Washington later Saturday.

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