Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said on Thursday that Egypt would continue efforts to press for a ceasefire in Lebanon although a Wednesday international conference failed to make such an appeal.
An immediate ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah was what most countries desired to see, Abul Gheit was quoted by Egypt's official MENA news agency as saying.
The top Egyptian diplomat made the statement one day after an international conference on Lebanon, which was held in Rome, failed to call for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon.
"Resistance of some countries to issue such a call for ceasefire was behind the failure of the conference," Abul Gheit said, without naming these countries.
Abul Gheit also said that Egypt would not take part in the peacekeeping forces along the Lebanese-Israeli border, but added that multinational forces should be dispatched to Lebanon as soon as possible once a ceasefire resolution was passed.
Commenting on the so-called new Middle East plan, Abul Gheit said, "If this new Middle East would mean the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, the withdrawal of Israel from the Golan Hights and Shebaa Farms, no more harassment of the Lebanese, and a strong and stable Iraq free from foreign troops, then it is most welcome."
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said during her recent visit to the region that Washington would spare no effort to push for a new Mideast.
"What we're seeing here ... are the birth pangs of a new Middle East and whatever we do, we have to be certain that we are pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old one," said Rice on Monday.
Israeli troops pressed ahead its massive assault against Lebanon's Hezbollah guerillas on Thursday as the Lebanese government said that about 600 Lebanese civilians have been killed.
Fifty-one Israelis have also been killed in the violence so far.
The conflict erupted when Hezbollah guerillas captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others during a July 12 cross- border attack.