Israel's Olmert Updates Obama on Gaza

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert updated newly installed U.S. President Barack Obama Wednesday on the situation in the Gaza Strip.

On his first day in office, Obama spoke with Olmert, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Jordan's King Abdullah II, and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.

According to a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office, Olmert wished President Obama success and said the Israeli people were very moved by his inauguration.

Olmert then said that ending arms smuggling to the Gaza Strip is fundamental for a successful cease-fire, which would pave the way to resume the diplomatic process.

Olmert also said that Israel is actively facilitating the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza residents and planning to address the economic situation for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

Meanwhile, Saeb Erekat, senior aide to Abbas, said Obama promised to work "in full partnership" with the PA leader. Abbas's term as president expired on January 9.

PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina said it was significant that Abbas was the first leader to be called by the newly installed US president.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama would work to strengthen the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas and was committed to "active engagement in pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace from the beginning of his term."

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, israel national news

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