News story

PM call with President Obama

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama spoke this afternoon to discuss the situation in Iraq, Ukraine and the Middle East.

A No10 spokesperson said:

On Iraq, the President set out the action that the United States is taking to alleviate the humanitarian suffering in the Sinjar area and to protect US personnel in Erbil. The Prime Minister welcomed the US 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 US in delivering aid drops. Both leaders also 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. They agreed that UK and US officials should work together, along with international partners, to find a way forward. They also agreed on the need for the Iraqis to establish an inclusive government as swiftly as possible to unite all Iraqi communities against ISIL terrorists.

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 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. Both agreed that the international community should impose further, tougher sanctions if Russia pursues such action. They reiterated that we continue to urge Russia to engage with the international community and the Ukrainian government to find a political solution to the crisis.

On Gaza, both expressed serious concern at the return to hostilities. They noted that Hamas had started firing rockets into Israel once again and condemned that they are launching these from deep within civilian neighbourhoods, putting innocent people at risk. 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. Both 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.

Finally, they touched on the ebola outbreak in West Africa and agreed 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 US and UK should do more to strengthen the capacity of these countries to deal with such public health emergencies.