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Bush Consults Mideast Leaders on Violence


President Bush is reaching out to Middle East leaders in hopes of ending the latest round of violence there.

President Bush telephoned Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, Jordanian King Abdullah and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from Air Force One en route to St. Petersburg.

White House spokesman Tony Snow says Mr. Bush thanked the Jordanian and Egyptian leaders for their help in trying to quell violence sparked by the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and rocket attacks into northern Israel.

Israel responded with air strikes inside Lebanon, and President Bush has expressed concern about how those attacks will affect the stability of the Siniora government.

Snow says Prime Minister Siniora expressed support for a cease-fire, which is something the White House spokesman called "unlikely" at this juncture.

A statement from the prime minister's office said President Bush affirmed his readiness to put pressure on Israel to limit damage to Lebanon and spare civilians from harm.

Asked about that statement, Snow said President Bush is not going to make military decisions for Israel.

Snow says the Middle East is sure to be a topic of much concern at the G8 summit here as the violence forces nations to make choices.

Snow says the Bush administration appreciates a Saudi statement characterizing Hezbollah actions as "uncalculated adventures undertaken by elements in Lebanon without recourse to legal authority and consulting and coordinated with Arab nations."

While Saudi Arabia and Egypt are both playing positive roles, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says Syria and Iran are encouraging those responsible for the kidnappings and missile attacks.

Rice says Syria needs to act responsibly and stop the use of its territory for terrorist activities while bringing pressure on those it supports to return the Israeli soldiers and de-escalate the situation.

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