Egypt and Jordan condemn Israel's attacks in Lebanon Friday and appeal for calm in a day of diplomacy in Cairo.
Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak met with King Abbullah of Jordan in an effort to contain the growing crisis in the region. The two leaders made a call for restraint from all parties.
Their joint statement condemned the Israeli incursion into Lebanon and Gaza, stating that the attacks on Lebanese and Palestinian infrastructure were against international law. More than 80 Palestinians in Gaza and more then 60 in Lebanon have been killed since Israel's offensive began.
Jordan and Egypt are the only countries in the Middle East who have diplomatic ties and peace agreements with Israel. The two countries are traditionally mediators in the region. This is not the first attempt by Egypt to resolve the crisis. In an newspaper interview earlier this week President Mubarak said his efforts to release of the abducted Israeli soldier by Hamas three weeks ago were sabotaged by what he called "an unnamed party".
Mr. Mubarak said that he spoke Friday with U.S. President George Bush and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. A special U.N. envoy arrived Friday in Cairo for meetings with the Egyptian foreign minister before continuing on to Israel.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Sallouk in Cairo confirmed that the Lebanese government was in negotiations with Hamas and Hezbollah. He stressed the importance for Arab solidarity and called for U.N. Security council intervension.
Arab foreign ministers are scheduled to meet in Cairo Saturday for an emergency meeting of the Arab League.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia took the unusual stance of criticizing Hezbollah for what it described as uncalculated adventures which could spiral into a regional crisis. It accused Hezbollah of instigating the Israeli offensive into Lebanon by capturing two Israeli soldiers.
Away from the diplomatic efforts, about 7,0000 people gathered in Cairo and in Amman Friday to protest the Israeli military action in both Gaza and Lebanon.