US president-elect Barack Obama said on Tuesday that he is "deeply concerned" about the fighting in the Gaza Strip and pledged to work effectively to resolve the Middle East conflict when he takes office later this month.
"Starting at the beginning of our administration, we are going to engage effectively and consistently in trying to resolve the conflicts that exist in the Middle East," Obama said.
Obama has mostly kept quiet about the fighting that began December 27, when Israel launched a major offensive in Gaza in response to Hamas rocket attacks, not wanting to undermine the Bush administration's policy.
"President George Bush, as president of the United States, speaks on behalf of the US government and the American people when it comes to international affairs," said Obama, who takes office Jan 20.
Obama said he was being briefed on the fighting and was monitoring it on a daily basis.
"Obviously, I am deeply concerned about the conflict that's taking place there," he said.