(CNN) - President Barack Obama's former special envoy to the Middle East lauded the president's trip to the region this week, describing it in an interview on CNN "Newsroom" on Saturday as "both significant and successful."
Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as well as Jordan's King Abdullah before boarding his flight back to the White House Saturday morning.
George Mitchell said Obama had several successes on the trip, including bridging a diplomatic gap between two U.S. allies in the region.
"Of course the cap of it (the trip) was the reconciliation - or at least the beginning of reconciliation - between Israel and Turkey, two important allies of the United States in the region who had been at odds over the last few years," Mitchell said.
Netanyahu called Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip and apologized for the 2009 incident in which nine people, mostly Turks, were killed on a flotilla headed for a port in Gaza that the Israeli military had blockaded.
This was a significant accomplishment on a trip where some political watchers have said the Obama administration did not set many expectations.
Mitchell is a former Democratic senator from Maine and served in Obama's first term administration as a special envoy seeking to bring together the Israelis and Palestinians.
He said Obama went to the region not only to speak to leaders, but also to "connect and make his case directly with the people of Israel, which I think he did very well."
While in Israel, the president delivered a major address before a group primarily made of students.
"Of course addressing the leaders of the future is always a sound thing to do in any country, including our own," Mitchell said. "So I think it was a good choice, a good decision, a good speech, well-received."
But, like many diplomatic efforts, Mitchell said, "how far it goes remains to be seen."
- CNN's Gregory Wallace contributed to this report