20 Aug 2009

Obama optimistic about restarting Mid-East talks

8:31 am on 20 August 2009

United States President Barack Obama has spoken optimistically about efforts to restart negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Mr Obama was speaking at the White House after meeting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Washington.

A senior minister in the Israeli government says it has stopped calling for tenders for settler housing in the West Bank, hoping to reach common ground with the US.

But anti-settlement groups say work in the settlements - seen as illegal by the United Nations - has in fact increased.

Mr Obama says he hopes both Israel and Arab states will make moves towards an agreement.