The Straits Times
Published on Nov 21, 2012

Obama calls Morsi, commends Gaza truce efforts


WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Barack Obama called Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi for the third time in 24 hours on Tuesday and "commended" his efforts to secure a truce in Gaza, the White House said.

"He commended President Morsi's efforts to pursue a de-escalation" in the Gaza Strip, deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters traveling home from Asia with Mr Obama during a stopover in Japan.

"He also underscored that President Morsi's efforts reinforce the important role that President Morsi and Egypt play on behalf of regional security and the pursuit of broader peace between the Palestinians and Israelis." The White House said it was the third time Mr Obama and Dr Morsi had spoken in the past 24 hours. "It indicates that Egypt plays a very important role in this process," Mr Rhodes said, adding no additional calls were planned at the moment.

Mr Obama has dispatched US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Israel, Egypt and Ramallah, stepping up US efforts to avoid a worsening of the Gaza crisis.