Obama pledges to be "constructive " peace partner if elected

Israel Materials 23 July 2008 17:42 (UTC +04:00)

Democratic Party presidential contender Barack Obama said Wednesday he would be a "constructive" partner in Israeli- Palestinian peace efforts if elected to the White House but stressed that any deal should not be imposed by Washington but should be reached by the negotiating parties themselves, reported dpa.

Briefing reporters on Obama's one-hour meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Illinois senator had said he shared Israeli and Palestinian hopes for a peace deal by the end of the year.

Obama, Erekat said, left Palestinians "feeling very well, reassuring us about his commitment for peace."

He described the talks between Omaba and Abbas as "a very important meeting" and Obama himself, when asked about the discussion, replied that it was "excellent."

"We appreciate very much that Senator Obama is committed to working with us in pursuing a two-state solution (to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict)," Erekat said.

The veteran negotiator said Abbas had briefed Obama on the peace process, and the negotiations with Israel, and explained the "difficulties and obstacles" created by Israeli settlements, the West Bank barrier, and Israeli military incursions.

Obama arrived in Israel Tuesday night for a 30-hour stay, during which, apart from his lightning visit to the West Bank, he is also holding talks with Israeli officials.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Abbas pledged at a peace conference late last year to try and reach a peace agreement by the end of 2008.