PM updates Obama on Gaza situation

In phone conversation, Olmert expresses hope that efforts to stop Hamas arms smuggling will succeed.

obama inauguration speech 248 88 (photo credit: AP)
obama inauguration speech 248 88
(photo credit: AP)
New US President Barack Obama called Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday, his first day in the Oval Office. A statement from Olmert's office said the prime minister commended him on his inauguration yesterday, wished him success and said that both he and Israeli people found the ceremony very moving. Olmert then updated Obama about the situation in Gaza and expressed hope that efforts by Israel, Egypt, the US and Europe to stop Hamas arms smuggling would be successful in order to provide a basis for a stable cease-fire and advance the diplomatic process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the future. Olmert also vowed that Israel would continue to facilitate the flow of humanitarian aid for Gazans and would act to improve the economic situation for Palestinians in the West Bank. Earlier Wednesday, Obama called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to express his commitment to achieving peace in the Middle East. Wednesday's calls fulfilled a promise by Obama to get involved in Mideast peacemaking from "day one" of his presidency. PA presidential aide Saeb Erekat said that Obama called Abbas to say that he hoped to work toward peace "in full partnership" with the Palestinian leader. Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina claimed that the PA president was the first leader Obama called since he was sworn in on Tuesday. Obama also called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama emphasized that he would work to consolidate the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Gibbs said Obama expressed "his commitment to active engagement in pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace from the beginning of his term." Obama also expressed his hope for continued cooperation from the leaders.