CAIRO (AFP) - Arab foreign ministers vowed on Wednesday to support US President Barack Obamas Middle East peace efforts but said that normalisation with Israel depends on a halt to its settlement activity. Arab countries are prepared to deal positively with the proposals of President Obama to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict, they said in a statement after a meeting at Arab League headquarters in Cairo. They vowed to take the necessary steps to support the American effort based on achieving comprehensive peace and the creation of a sovereign, independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital. Obama has made relaunching the Middle East peace process a top priority, pledging a new beginning for Islam and America in a landmark speech to the worlds Muslims delivered in Cairo earlier this month. The Arab ministers in Cairo did not spell out the steps they planned to take but said that in order to normalise relations with Israel, the Jewish state must put a complete stop to settlement activity including in east Jerusalem. Arab League chief Amr Mussa said Arabs were prepared to reconsider dealing with Israel because there is now an American administration which has since day one expressed its seriousness in ending the Arab-Israeli conflict. This therefore requires us to move seriously and to take international positions in consideration, Mussa told a news conference after the talks. Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy asked visitng Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to impose a total freeze on Jewish settlements in the West Bank, a Presidency statement said. The president of the republic called on Israel to immediately take all possible measures to encourage confidence in its talks with the Palestinians, beginning with the total freeze of settlement activities, it said. Netanyahu harshly criticised arch-foe Iran for repressing its own people after talks with his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi in Rome, saying the post-election violence gripping the country revealed its true nature. Something very fundamental has taken place in Iran, and the world now sees the true nature of this regime, he told a press conference. Israels Yediot Aharonot newspaper quoted an unnamed Israeli official as saying Washington issued a stern message to Netanyahu concerning its demands that Israel halt all growth in settlements on occupied Palestinian land.