Obama thanks Sarkozy for supporting Mideast peace
US President Barack Obama called his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy Thursday to thank him for supporting current Middle East peace efforts, the White House said.
"Sarkozy affirmed his full support for the peace talks and his commitment to working with President Obama and the other leaders to advance the process," said a statement from the White House.
Earlier Thursday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas launched their first direct negotiations in 20 months, and vowed to meet every two weeks in a bid to settle core differences within a year, urged on by Obama to get both sides to hammer out a peace accord.
Obama called President Sarkozy "to thank him for his support for a comprehensive Middle East peace, and to consult on next steps to encourage further progress in the direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority," the White House said.
Sarkozy said earlier this week that success in the peace talks would depend on speedy progress and that delay would encourage extremism.
And on Wednesday the French government urged Israeli and Palestinian leaders not to allow violent extremists to derail attempts to get peace talks on track, after a Palestinian gunman killed four Israeli civilians in the West Bank town of Hebron.
US officials also said Obama called King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Monday to discuss the peace process as well as US efforts to end the war in Iraq.
© 2010 AFP