(FNA) - US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said he would favor holding direct talks with Iran and Syria in a bid to stabilize the Middle East if elected president.
In an interview with French magazine Paris Match on Thursday, Obama said, "I want to have direct talks with countries like Iran and Syria because I don't believe we can stabilize the region unless not just our friends but also our enemies are involved in these discussions."
He was also quoted as saying he would also hold a summit with leaders of Muslim states to address the growing gap between the West and the world of Islam.
The Illinois senator added that to repair the image of the United States in the world, he would "put an end to the war in Iraq."
"Occupying the country has put the odds against us with the world," Obama said.
Meanwhile, a visiting Iranian official said Thursday in Cairo that Iran and Egypt would work together to resolve the Middle East's top crises such as in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, and that both wanted to upgrade their diplomatic relations, severed nearly three decades ago.
Tehran cut diplomatic ties with Egypt after Cairo signed a peace agreement with Israel in 1979 and provided asylum for the deposed Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
Ali Akbar Nategh Nouri, a top adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, spoke after a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Thursday in Cairo.
"It has been decided that we and Egypt will work together for more coordination on regional issues such Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine," Nategh Nouri said. "Iran and Egypt are key regional nations and have too many things in common."
In May, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad offered to restore ties with Egypt, a strong US ally. At the time, Ahmadinejad said his country was ready to open an embassy in Cairo as soon as Egypt agreed to do the same in Tehran.