Bildt welcomes Obama speech on Middle East

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has welcomed American President Barack Obama's speech on the Middle East. He tells Swedish Radio news that the US and the European Union now have a common voice on the issue, which he says, is essential for the peace process in the Middle East.

Bildt also says that Obama's stress on respect for the 1967 borders is absolutely decisive.

The Swedish foreign minister says he thinks it is too early to comment on the suggestion that the United Nations General Assembly will recognize a Palestinian state in September. But Bildt says that his EU colleagues will be meeting in Brussels on Monday and that the Middle East and North Africa will be high on the agenda.

The former envoy for the international community in the Balkans admits that there is a lack of agreement on sanctions against the Syrian regime cracking down on the opposition there, but he feels that sanctions don't help the hundreds of civilians being killed.

He maintains that the problem is that we can't get into Syria - and that the UN and the Red Cross are trying but only partially succeeding.

He confesses that the world community has not been 100% successful in putting political pressure on the regime in Damascus, since violence and killing continue there.