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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 September 2005, 16:32 GMT 17:32 UK
US concern at Saudi 'hate works'
Karen Hughes meets children in Istanbul, Turkey
Karen Hughes visited Turkey on the last leg of her tour
A US envoy on a tour of the Middle East has told a group of Saudi editors that "hate" literature from Saudi extremists has been found in American mosques.

Karen Hughes told the gathering the US wanted to see Saudis speak out more strongly against religious extremism.

But she said the US appreciated Saudi efforts in the fight against extremists and the sacrifices made by its forces.

Ms Hughes was also taking in Egypt and Turkey as part of a mission to improve the image of the US in the Middle East.

"It's a huge challenge, it's confirmed," she told reporters as she flew to Turkey for the final leg of her tour.

In Jeddah, she met a group of students who spoke of a "climate of hate" among Americans towards Muslims, and Saudis in particular, because so many of the 9/11 attackers were from Saudi Arabia.

Another student complained about the abuses of Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, the AFP news agency reported.

In Ankara, Ms Hughes met a group of Turkish women who demanded an end to the war in Iraq.

And in Cairo, the first leg of her tour, she faced criticism over US treatment of suspected Islamic militants detained at Guantanamo Bay.

'Listening tour'

She has also done the official rounds, meeting Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, as well as the Egyptian prime minister and Turkish foreign minister.

A close aide and long-time adviser to President George W Bush, Ms Hughes was earlier this month given the job of trying to improve the public perception of the US and its Middle East policy.

Her first trip as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy was billed as "a listening tour".

But she has not just been listening.

In Saudi Arabia, she told a meeting of several hundred women that they should play a fuller part in society, including having the right to vote and drive.

And in reference to Egypt's recent first multi-party elections, she said she hoped Egyptians "will insist that the door be pushed further open" with parliamentary elections due later this year.

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