Obama calls Abbas, promises 'durable peace'

Obama told Abbas that the president was the first foreign leader he called since taking office, Palestinian official said.

Obama calls Abbas, promises 'durable peace'
US President Barack Obama promised to work towards a "durable peace" in the Middle East during a phone call to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday, Palestinian officials said.

Obama told Abbas that the president was the first foreign leader he called since taking office, Palestinian official said.

During his inauguration speech on Tuesday, Obama pledged a new approach to the Muslim world.

"To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect," he said.

Israel's Haaretz daily, reporting what it said were details of an army probe into its soldiers' use of white-phosphorous shells, said 200 were fired in the assault, including 20 in a built-up area in the northern Gaza Strip.

Two Palestinian children were killed and 14 people suffered severe burns on Jan. 17 when Israeli shells landed in a U.N.-run school in the northern Beit Lahiya area, medical officials said.

Amnesty International has accused Israel of war crimes over its use of the high-incendiary munitions in heavily populated areas.

Hamas officials and an Israeli envoy planned to meet separately with Egyptian mediators in Cairo on Thursday to discuss ways to make the ceasefire "durable" and a reopening of border crossings, an official close to the talks said.

Agencies
Last Mod: 22 Ocak 2009, 15:50
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