Prime Minister Julia Gillard has discussed the crisis in the Middle East with US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
As Australia prepares to take up its seat on the United Nations security council (UNSC) from January, Ms Gillard held informal talks with Mr Obama at a dinner to open the East Asia Summit (EAS) in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh on Monday night.
She said the Middle East issue was raised during a “wide-ranging discussion” during which Mr Obama congratulated her on Australia’s UNSC election, and she congratulated him on his recent re-election.
“We had the opportunity to talk about issues that are on the agenda for the East Asia Summit, as well as circumstances in the Middle East,” Ms Gillard told reporters in Phnom Penh on Tuesday.
Ms Gillard also said she had spoken with Mr Netanyahu on the telephone last Friday.
“I made the points very clearly to him then that we absolutely condemn as a government the rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel and they must cease,” she said.
“Israel has the right to defend itself … but we would want to see de-escalation and we would want people to act with restraint.”
She said since that discussion there had been more tension in the Middle East region.
“We welcome the fact that the USA, Egypt, the UN secretary general are now active in trying to manage these issues,” Ms Gillard said.
Meanwhile, asked if Mr Obama had given her tips on how to beat a conservative party, Ms Gillard said: “We will get about doing that in our own way.”
The Australian federal election is due to be held in late 2013. – AAP