LEXINGTON, Va. (AP) — Mitt Romney says the risk of conflict in the Middle East has grown under President Barack Obama's leadership.

The Republican presidential contender is calling for a "change of course" in the region.

Romney assailed Obama's foreign policy in a speech Monday at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va. He had focused on the economy for much of the campaign is now seizing on foreign policy to help paint Obama as a weak leader who has limited America's influence on global affairs.

Romney is calling for the U.S. to take a more assertive role in Syria. He also wants new conditions on aid to Egypt and would impose tighter sanctions on Iran.

He says there is "a longing for American leadership in the Middle East."

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