The Washington Times - November 19, 2012, 01:06PM

In the middle of his three-day trip to Southeast Asia, President Obama on Monday took time out to call Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Morsi to discuss ways to try to ramp down violence in Israel and Gaza.

The president phoned Mr. Netanyahu to get an update on the rocket strikes between Israel and Gaza and expressed regret for the loss of Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives, according to a White House readout of the conversation.

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During his call to Mr. Morsi, Mr. Obama emphasized the necessity of Hamas ending rocket fire into Israel and offered condolences for the lives lost in a train accident over the weekend in Egypt, the White House said in a release.

A speeding train crashed into a school bus Saturday, killing 51 people, mostly children, outside the city of Assiut, Egypt. The accident prompted angry protests and accusations from Egyptians that Mr. Morsi is not doing enough to overhaul the former regime’s legacy of neglect.