Obama calls French President, Saudi King on Middle East

Israeli, Palestinian leaders met for first direct peace talks after 2 years.

Washington: US President Barack Obama has called French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Saudi King Abdullah to discuss with them the crucial direct talks between Israeli and Palestine leaders that resumed after a gap of two years.

"President Obama called President Sarkozy earlier today (Thursday) 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.

Obama noted that he had a productive series of meetings on Wednesday, and said that he believed the two parties were committed to achieving progress, the White House statement said.

"President 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. Both leaders agreed to remain in close touch on this issue as part of their ongoing cooperation," it said.

Earlier in the week on Monday, Obama called King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to discuss the situation in the region, including direct talks between the Israelis and Palestinians and the end of the US combat mission in Iraq, the White House said.