Obama promises immediate engagement in Middle East

January 12th, 2009 - 2:14 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Jan 12 (DPA) US president-elect Barack Obama Sunday promised to begin immediate engagement in finding a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict when he becomes the US president later in January.Speaking on US broadcaster ABC, Obama said: “What I am doing right now is putting together the team so that on Jan 20, starting on day one, we have the best possible people who are going to be immediately engaged in the Middle East peace process as a whole.”

Obama spoke of “engaging with all of the actors … to create a strategic approach that ensures that both Israelis and Palestinians can meet their aspirations.”

Obama also spoke concerning Iran saying that the Islamic republic would be “one of our biggest challenges … and we are going to have to take a new approach. And I’ve outlined my belief that engagement is the place to start”.

The US leader however did not provide details on his Iran policy, although he did express concern on Iranian support of Lebanon’s radical Islamist militant group Hezbollah as well as Iran’s nuclear programme.

Defending his reticence to speak out on the Middle East before taking office, Obama reiterated that “we cannot have two administrations at the same time simultaneously sending signals in a volatile situation.”

However, in relation to the ongoing Israeli incursion in the Gaza Strip in response to missile attacks from the salient, he did state that every nation had a right to defend itself against attack.

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