WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama spent part of his first full day in office Wednesday wading into the crises in the Middle East and in the economy, aides said.
Obama wasted no time in placing calls to President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Jordan's King Abdullah and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, aides told The Washington Post.
The new president is moving quickly to help consolidate a Gaza cease-fire between Israeli forces and the Palestinian Arab militant group Hamas, press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement released to the Post.
Obama, he said, was aiming to establish "an effective anti-smuggling regime to prevent Hamas from re-arming, and facilitating in partnership with the Palestinian Authority a major reconstruction effort for Palestinians in Gaza."
Meanwhile, Obama was set to issue a major address to a joint session of Congress within the next several weeks to spell out the details of his plans to jump-start the flagging U.S. economy and financial system, said Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner during his confirmation hearings before the Senate Finance Committee.
Later, Obama was set to be briefed by national economic director Lawrence Summers, Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag, White House Policy Council director Melody Barnes and the White House coordinator of energy and climate policy, Carol Browner, the Post said.