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Arab states to meet in Cairo on Mideast violence - Daily News Egypt

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Arab states to meet in Cairo on Mideast violence

Reuters CAIRO: Arab governments agreed to send their foreign ministers to Cairo for an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss Israeli attacks on Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, the Arab League said on Thursday. But the 22-member League has not yet seen specific proposals for a joint Arab response to the attacks in which Israel …


Reuters

CAIRO: Arab governments agreed to send their foreign ministers to Cairo for an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss Israeli attacks on Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, the Arab League said on Thursday. But the 22-member League has not yet seen specific proposals for a joint Arab response to the attacks in which Israel has killed more than 75 people, mainly civilians, in two days. An Arab diplomat said: The meeting will show solidarity and send a message to the Lebanese and Palestinians that the Arabs have not abandoned them. It will also put pressure on the Israelis to cease their actions, especially as many civilians have been killed, added the diplomat, who asked not to be named. He did not say how the Arab states could put pressure on Israel. Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit said in a statement that the Arab League and the UN Security Council should act at once to make the parties exercise self-restraint and not to increase tension in the region. Arab League members lobbied for a UN Security Council resolution earlier this month to promote an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, including an exchange of prisoners. The council did not adopt its proposals. The Lebanese group Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers on Wednesday and the Palestinian group Hamas has been holding a third Israeli soldier since June 25. Both groups say they want to exchange them for some of the 10,000 Arab prisoners in Israeli detention. Abul-Gheit criticized the Israeli response as incompatible with law and international legitimacy. Any military action which targets civilians … is terrorism. Attacking civilians on the pretext of combating terrorism is unacceptable and unjustifiable, he added. Egypt is one of only two Arab countries to have full peace treaties with Israel. The other is Jordan. The League began consultations on a ministerial meeting on Wednesday. The violence escalated on Thursday when Israel attacked Beirut airport and killed more than 50 Lebanese civilians. Hezbollah fired barrages of rockets into towns across Israel, killing one civilian and wounding 43 others. The ministers will consider at their meeting a proposal by Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh for holding an Arab summit on the fighting, league officials said. The ministers are likely to call for an end to Israeli attacks and peaceful settlements between Israel and Hamas on the one hand and Israel and Hezbollah on the other, diplomats said. But major Arab governments other than Syria will not give unqualified backing to either Hamas or Hezbollah, they added. Egypt, which had been mediating between Israel and Hamas, cancelled a Cairo news conference by leading Hamas member Mohammad Nazzal on Thursday. A Nazzal aide said the Egyptian authorities cited unspecified security reasons.

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