Former United States President Jimmy Carter said in an interview with CNN this week he expected President-elect Barack Obama to waste no time pursuing Middle East peace talks once he takes office.

Carter told CNN he "thrilled" by Obama's election and praised his victory as heralding "a new approach" to the handling of the peace process.

Carter said Obama "will not wait for even a month after he is president to start working on the peace process, where as you know, the previous two presidents waited till the least year they were in office before they began the peace process."

When asked by CNN if it would be unwise for Obama to focus on the peace process while the United States is facing an economic crisis, Carter said the process was too important to put off.

He related that when he became president, the United States was facing both an energy crisis and a troubled economy, but he still found a way to pursue peace in the Middle East.

"I think is a very important issue, I don't have any doubt in my mind that to find peace and security and human rights for the Palestinians and also for Israel would be a major factor in reducing the threat of terror," Carter told CNN.

Carter added that the failure to reach a settlement is one of the main causes of the "animosity and hatred and even violent acts against America and our allies."

Over the last year, Carter has taken on an increased role in the talks, offering to becoming a conduit between Hamas, Washington and even Israel. He has spoken out against Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip , calling it a "crime and an atrocity" on Thursday, and has blasted U.S. attempts to undermine Hamas as counterproductive.