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Wed 21 Jan 2009 10:08 PM

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Obama makes snap call to Abbas

President Obama used his first day in office to make a snap call to Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas.

Reflecting the importance of the Middle East to the United States Barack Obama used his first day in office to make a snap call to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.Obama assured Abbas that he intended to work with him to establish a durable peace in the region.

The new US leader told Abbas that the Palestinian president was the first foreign leader he called since taking office, said spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina.

Obama and his secretary of state-designate Hillary Clinton had vowed to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict immediately after taking office.

There was no confirmation if Obama also called Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, while a close Abbas aide admitted surprise at the speed with which Obama moved.

"We were not expecting such a quick call from President Obama but we knew how serious he is about the Palestinian problem," said Yasser Abed Rabbo.

During his inauguration speech Tuesday, Obama pledged a new approach to the Muslim world saying "we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect."

Israel completed its pull out during the morning, the fourth day of a ceasefire that ended a 22-day blitz on Hamas, leaving 1,300 Palestinians dead and a trail of devastation.

An Israel Defence Forces statement said all troops had returned to Israeli territory ending Operation Cast Lead against the Islamist movement. "The forces are now redeployed outside the Gaza Strip."

But Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said the pullout "is not enough and does not resolve the crisis.

"We demand the total lifting of the blockade and the re-opening of all the crossing points so that our people can live in peace and security," he said.

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Seahorse88 11 years ago

Surely the 44th US president showed his greater respect for PEACE and UNITY by making that call. That was a very good start! We just pray and hope people, especially who are directly involve in Israel and Palestine, will listen and take part of the fortification of gaining true and lasting PEACE. Instead of killing lives and engaging to war, which would never solve a problem, we should focus more in solving the Economic Global Crisis that is troubling major parts of our world. Seeing our brothers and sisters (Israelites and Palestinians; Islam, Jews, Christian, Hindu, etc.) in PEACE with each others would at least alleviate the crunch we are experiencing nowadays.

nora 11 years ago

Obama must understand that the Arab World (Unfortunately) is not always represented by governments who the Arab people agree with. I hope that Obama doesnt only get Abbas and Olmert together, but rather get Abbas, Hamas and Olmert together and have them agree on how to handle things...thats the only way the conflict in palestine will be resolved. The Arab people are so aggravated by what happened in Gaza, that at the moment HAMAS has the greatest popularity it may ever have in years and the idea of resistance is the only solution is now on every body's mind....It is clear Abbas has absolutely no power on Hamas, and speaking to abbas alone is not enough! Good luck obama with solving our Arab conflicts that we arabs have failed to solve....