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Obama calls Netanyahu, Morsi to de-escalate tension in Gaza

Washington, Nov 17 ,2012 (PTI) 12:22 IST

US President Barack Obama has called the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Morsi Isa El-Ayyat, in an effort to de-escalate tension in the region.

This was Mr Obama’s second telephone calls to the two leaders this week with tension between Israelis and the Hamas flaring up, with all indication that it is escalating.

In his call with Mr Netanyahu yesterday, Mr Obama reiterated American support for Israel’s right to defend itself, and expressed regret over the loss of Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives.

“The two leaders discussed options for de-escalating the situation,” the White House said in a statement.

Commending Egypt’s efforts to de-escalate the situation, Mr Obama in his call with Mr Morsi hoped that these efforts would be successful.

“The President expressed regret for the loss of Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives, and underscored the importance of resolving the situation as quickly as possible to restore stability and prevent further loss of life,” White House said.

Mr Obama also reached out to the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the escalating violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip, a presidential statement said, adding, the two leaders shared their concerns about the dangers to civilian populations on both sides and expressed their common desire to see an end to the violence.

“The President and Prime Minister agreed that the continued spiral of violence jeopardises prospects for a durable, lasting peace in the region. The President underscored his commitment to advancing the goal of Middle East peace.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who is travelling to South East Asia also reached out to her counterparts in Israel, Egypt and Turkey as part of the American effort to de-escalate the tension and prevent it from any further flaring up.

“In all cases, her message has been the same, that we are urging a de-escalation of this conflict. We are urging those countries with influence on Hamas and other groups in Gaza to use that influence to get a de—escalation,” the State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters at her daily news conference.

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