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Cameron, Obama discuss Iraq, Ukraine, Gaza crises over phone

Editor: Zhang Hao 丨Xinhua

08-10-2014 08:48 BJT


LONDON, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron and U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday discussed the current multiple crises in Iraq, Ukraine, Gaza and the Ebola outbreak in west Africa in a phone call, Downing Street said.

On Iraq, Obama set out the action that the United States is taking to "alleviate the humanitarian suffering" in the Sinjar area and to protect U.S. personnel in Erbil, a Downing Street spokesperson said in a statement following the phone call.

"The Prime Minister welcomed the U.S. efforts and made clear that we are keen to work with the Americans on the humanitarian effort. They agreed that the immediate priority is to get vital supplies to those trapped on Mt Sinjar and the UK will join the U.S. in delivering aid drops," the spokesperson said.

The statement added both leaders agreed that aid drops are not a long term solution and that a way must be found to "get these people to safety and to avert a genocide."

The two leaders also agreed on the need for the Iraqis to establish an inclusive government as swiftly as possible to unite all Iraqi communities against ISIL militants.

On Ukraine, both expressed "grave concern" about reports that Russian military vehicles have crossed the border into Ukraine and that Russian armed forces are exercising for a "humanitarian intervention", the statement noted.

"The Prime Minister and President are absolutely clear that such a so-called humanitarian mission would be unjustified and illegal. There are already a number of international aid agencies providing appropriate assistance on the ground in Eastern Ukraine and they urge Russia to desist from such a move," it said.

Agreeing that the international community should impose "further, tougher sanctions" if Russia pursues such action, Cameron and Obama reiterated that they "continue to urge Russia to engage with the international community and the Ukrainian government to find a political solution to the crisis."

Also on Saturday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia is seriously concerned about the humanitarian catastrophe in eastern Ukraine.

Russia was taking efforts in both bilateral and multilateral formats to alleviate the problem, including organizing relief supplies to eastern Ukraine, Peskov added, rejecting Kiev's allegation of Russian troops trying to penetrate into Ukrainian territory under the guise of humanitarian convoy.

On Gaza, Cameron and Obama expressed "serious concern" at the return to hostilities, and maintained their pro-Israel stance.

"They noted that Hamas had started firing rockets into Israel once again and condemned that they are launching these from deep within civilian neighborhoods, putting innocent people at risk," the Downing Street statement continued.

"They agreed that Israel has a right to defend itself but it should do so in a way that exercises restraint and Israeli forces must take utmost care to avoid civilian casualties," it added.

Both leaders agreed that "the priority must be to re-establish a ceasefire that paves the way for negotiations on a more lasting peace that allows both Israelis and Palestinians to live in safety alongside one another."

In their phone call, Cameron and Obama also touched on the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, agreeing that the international community must do all it can to support the countries affected by providing the necessary expertise and medical supplies.

"In the longer term, they agreed that the U.S. and UK should do more to strengthen the capacity of these countries to deal with such public health emergencies," the Downing Street spokesperson said.

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