New Zealand Prime Minister John Key should use any opportunity he gets to talk to President Barack Obama to raise the plight of civilians in Gaza, the Green Party said today.
John Key and Barack Obama are both attending a dinner to start the East Asia Summit being held in Phnom Penh. President Obama has warned against any incursion by Israel's forces into the Gaza Strip.
"The United States, as Israel's closest ally, is one of the few countries with the ability to influence current events in the Middle East," said Green Party global affairs spokesperson Dr Kennedy Graham.
"Any Israeli ground attack will mean huge civilian casualties and suffering for those living in Gaza.
"New Zealand is a country that believes in working for peaceful solutions to conflicts and should do all it can to prevent an Israeli ground assault on Gaza.
"New Zealand should also push for Israel to immediately cease its air bombardment on Gaza.
"On the humanitarian front New Zealand needs to look at ways it can channel aid to the civilian population of Gaza," said Dr Graham.