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Obama calls Mideast leaders for peace efforts

Source: Xinhua | 01-22-2009 07:46

Special Report:   Israel airstrikes in Gaza
Special Report:   Inauguration of Barack Obama

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- On his first working day as the president, Barack Obama on Wednesday called Mideast leaders to show his decision to promote the peace process in the region.

Photo taken on Jan. 20, 2009 to show that Newly-inaugurated U.S. President Barack Obama delivers inaugural address in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C..(Xinhua/Zhang Yan)
Photo taken on Jan. 20, 2009 to show that Newly-inaugurated
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers inaugural address in 
front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C..
(Xinhua/Zhang Yan)

Obama called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Jordan's King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, according to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.

"He used this opportunity on his first day in office to communicate his commitment to active engagement in pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace from the beginning of his term, and to express his hope for their continued cooperation and leadership," Gibbs said in a statement.

On Sunday, Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement of Hamas declared a cease-fire after 22 days of fighting in the Gaza Strip, which Palestinian medics said more than 1,300 people killed by the Israeli troops.

The president emphasized his determination to work to help consolidate the ceasefire by establishing an effective anti-smuggling regime to prevent Hamas from rearming, and by working with Palestinian leadership to help create a major reconstruction effort for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, said Gibbs.

Israel launched a massive military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip on December 27, in an attempt to disable Hamas' rocket attacks into Israel and arm-smuggling from Egypt, and to isolate Hamas' leadership in the territories.

Obama's predecessor George W. Bush had supported Israel's right to defend itself from the rocket attacks by Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip, saying a durable ceasefire requires Hamas first stop rocket-firing and arm-smuggling.

The Bush administration and the Israeli government on Friday, three days ahead of the ending of Bush's presidential tenure, signed an agreement to stop weapon smuggling to the Gaza Strip.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei