U.S. President Barack Obama expressed confidence that Washington can help get "serious negotiations" between Israel and the Palestinians back on track, in an interview with the BBC. Speaking ahead of his visit to the Middle East later this week which will include an important speech in Cairo, the American leader added that he hoped for progress in direct talks with Iran by the end of 2009.
Obama said his administration believes it is "going to be able to get serious negotiations back on track" between Israel and the Palestinians. "Not only is it in the interest of the Palestinian people to have a state, it's in the interest of the Israeli people to stabilise the situation there," he noted.
On Iran, Obama conveyed that he hopes for progress in contacts during the upcoming months. "Although I don't want to put artificial timetables on that process, we do want to make sure that, by the end of this year, we've actually seen a serious process move forward," he said.