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Obama Sees Progress On Oil Spill Response, But Not Yet 'Optimistic'

U.S. President Barack Obama says it seems that British-based energy giant BP is finally making progress in capturing some of the oil from the enormous Gulf Of Mexico spill -- but Obama says it's still "too early to be optimistic" about the latest control effort.

Obama spoke in the state of Louisiana on June 4 -- his third trip to the oil disaster zone since the spill began 45 days ago.

Obama's visit came as a containment cap, placed on to the leaking wellhead on Thursday, began to capture oil from the broken pipe. BP says it hopes the cap will eventually enable engineers to siphon away most of the gushing oil to surface ships. It was not immediately clear how much oil is currently being captured by the cap.

"It does appear that the cap, at least for now, is holding, that some hydrocarbons are being sent up to the surface and that they are slowly ratcheting up the amount of oil and gas that's being extracted," Obama told reporters. "They're doing it carefully so that they don't dislodge or disrupt the cap in some fashion. We will know more over the next 24 to 48 hours, and it is way too early to be optimistic."

In other comments, Obama warned BP against spending millions of dollars on advertising and paying dividends to shareholders while ordinary people in the Gulf region continue to suffer from the effects of the spill.

Crude from the spill has so far fouled shores in four U.S. states -- Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida -- in what has become the most damaging oil spill in U.S. history.

compiled from agency reports