CRAWFORD, Texas, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- U.S. President George Bush spent the last day of 2008 in telephone diplomacy, discussing Gaza and tensions between India and Pakistan, a spokesman said.
Bush spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert about the Israeli air assault on Gaza, with Olmert assuring Bush "that Israel is taking the appropriate steps to avoid civilian casualties," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said during a briefing at the Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch.
"President Bush got an assurance from Prime Minister Olmert that Israel is, as they have said they are doing, only targeting Hamas and that terrorist organization, and people involved with Hamas, and that they are working to minimize any civilian casualties," Johndroe said.
Of the more than 350 Palestinian casualties, the United Nations estimates about 60 are civilians.
While not revealing any details of possible steps leading to a cease-fire, Johndroe said, any truce "begins with Hamas agreeing to stop firing rockets and to stop targeting Israel."
Bush also spoke with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, urging both countries to cooperate in the investigation into the terrorist attacks on Mumbai, India, in particular and on counterterrorism matters in general, the spokesman said.
"All three leaders, from the United States, India and Pakistan, agreed that no one wanted to take any steps that unnecessarily raise tensions," Johndroe said.