Egypt has called on the US and Russia to “contain the conflict” and reach a comprehensive and final resolution to the Syrian crisis, hours after American airstrikes were launched at a Syrian airbase.
“Egypt affirms the importance of sparing Syria and the Middle East the dangers of crisis escalation, in order to preserve the safety of the nations that comprise it," read a Friday statement issued by the foreign ministry.
"We see the necessity for swift action to end the armed conflict in Syria to preserve the lives of the Syrian people, through a commitment by all Syrian parties for an immediate ceasefire and a return to negotiations under the aegis of the United Nations,” it read.
On Friday morning, two US warships fired 59 cruise missiles from the eastern Mediterranean Sea at the Syrian airbase controlled by the forces of President Bashar Al-Assad in response to a poison gas attack in a rebel-held area on Tuesday.
According to Syria's state owned SANA news agency, the US missile strike killed nine civilians, including four children. The Pentagon has said that civilians were not targeted.
Putin, a staunch ally of Al-Assad, said the action was "aggression against a sovereign nation" on a "made-up pretext" and a cynical attempt to distract the world from civilian deaths in Iraq, his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, was cited as saying by agencies.
Trump ordered the strikes a day after he blamed Al-Assad for this week's chemical attack, which killed at least 70 people, many of them children, in the Syrian rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun. The Syrian government has denied it was behind the attack.
The Egyptian foreign ministry said that it was calling on the US and Russia “in light of the two countries’ responsibilities for safeguarding international peace and security.”
In a statement on Thursday, before the airstrikes, the ministry expressed Cairo's “deep concern” at the state of "polarization" within the UN after the Tuesday attack on Khan Sheikhoun.
The UN Security Council will meet on Friday at 11:30 am (15:30 GMT) to discuss the missile strikes on Syria, one day after it failed to agree on terms for an investigation into the suspected sarin gas attack on the town.