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« Reply #45 on: July 15, 2006, 10:01:42 PM »

Arab League Says Peace Process in Mideast is 'Dead'

Saturday , July 15, 2006

CAIRO, Egypt — Foreign ministers of 18 Arab countries passed a unanimous resolution Saturday calling on the U.N. Security Council to intervene to stop escalating Mideast fighting.

"The Middle East peace process has failed. The whole process should now be sent back to the Security Council for a complete overhaul," said Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa.

"We are going to the Security Council — this is a unanimous position — to discuss the whole situation from scratch," he said.

"If the Security Council fails, nobody knows what might happen next," he added, pronouncing the whole Mideast peace process "dead."

The league held an emergency summit in Cairo Saturday over Israel's expanding assault on Lebanon, but squabbles over the legitimacy of Hezbollah's attacks on Israel — including the capture of two Israeli soldiers that sparked the 4-day battle — appeared likely to keep participants from reaching a consensus, delegates said.

The Saudi foreign minister appeared to be leading a camp of ministers criticizing the guerrilla group's actions, calling them "unexpected, inappropriate and irresponsible acts."

"These acts will pull the whole region back to years ago, and we cannot simply accept them," Saudi al-Faisal told his counterparts.

Click here to visit FOXNews.com's Mideast center.

Supporting his stance were representatives of Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq, the Palestinian Authority, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, delegates said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.

Another camp led by Syria defended Hezbollah as carrying out "legitimate acts in line with international resolutions and the U.N. charter, as acts of resistance," delegates said.

The rift appeared likely to prevent participants from issuing a unanimous resolution over Israel's bloody incursion into Lebanon — the worst Israeli attack on its neighbor in 24 years.

Earlier, Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh presented his fellow Arab League members with a draft resolution condemning Israel's military offensive and supporting Lebanon's "right to resist occupation by all legitimate means" — language frequently used by Hezbollah to justify its guerrillas' presence in south Lebanon.

The draft, a copy of which obtained by The Associated Press, also demanded the release of Lebanese captives and detainees in Israeli prisons, and supported Lebanon's right to "liberate them by all legitimate means."

Salloukh, a Shiite close to the mainstream Amal faction as well as the militant Hezbollah, said Arab governments were not doing enough to protest Israel's assault on Lebanon.

"What our Arab brothers have called `involvement' has only resulted in frustration and bitterness among Arab people," Salloukh told participants at the meeting Saturday.

"If (Arab) governments are not serious and determined ... our people will sooner or later take things into their own hands," he said.

Israel launched its offensive after Hezbollah guerrillas crossed the Israel-Lebanon border on Wednesday and captured two Israeli soldiers. Israel has bombarded Lebanon's airport and main roads and destroyed Hezbollah's headquarters in south Beirut. Hezbollah has responded by launching hundreds of rockets into Israel.

At least 79 Lebanese have died, mostly civilians.

Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa issued a statement Friday calling on Israel to halt its military operations in Lebanon, and asking the U.N. Security Council to intervene. He met late Friday with United Nations officials in Cairo, including U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy, Terje Roed-Larsen.

In Kuwait, Saad Hariri, head of the anti-Syrian bloc in Lebanon's parliament, told reporters that his country "should not become a playground" for Mideast fighting.

"Israel has to understand that Lebanon is not a terrorist state but a state fighting for freedom, and the Lebanese have to unite and stay united," Hariri said.

"A clear Arab position on this (Israeli) aggression has to be issued (in the foreign ministers meeting)," he added.

Palestinian factions issued a statement Saturday calling on Arab foreign ministers to "overcome their differences, and take a united Arab position pressuring the American administration to amend its pro-Israel position, boycott Israel and support the steadfastness and resistance of the Lebanese and Palestinian people."

The groups, Islamic and secular, called on Arab governments to push for U.N.-sponsored negotiations to release Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners as well as the captured Israeli soldiers.

In Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah was to meet Saturday afternoon with Ali Larijani, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, whose country is a top backer of Hamas and Hezbollah.

The two would discuss "the situation after Israeli forces launched attacks on Lebanon, and search for way out," a Saudi diplomat said on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak to the media.

Arab League Says Peace Process in Mideast is 'Dead'
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« Reply #46 on: July 15, 2006, 10:22:21 PM »

Zionists commit crimes in the same manner as Hitler
Tehran, July 16, IRNA

Iran-President-Zionists
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the Zionist regime crimes in occupied territory against the innocent people of Palestine is in the same manner as Hitler's.

In a ceremony to open the traffic tunnel in Tehran which was held before a number of country's officials and foreign envoys on Saturday, President Ahmadinejad said, "The Zionists think that they are victims of Hitler, but they act like Hitler and behave worse than Genghis Khan."
The president warned about the wrath that the Zionist are creating and said nobody can control the situation anymore.

Zionists commit crimes in the same manner as Hitler
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« Reply #47 on: July 15, 2006, 10:23:35 PM »

 Iran-EC-Condemnation /POLO/ Expediency Council condemns new crimes by Zionist regime
Tehran, July 16, IRNA


Expediency Council (EC) condemned the latest Zionist crimes in Lebanon and Palestine.

In a statement, a copy of which was faxed to IRNA on Saturday, the EC said, "We strongly condemn the new crimes committed by the Zionist regime and call all Muslims and Islamic countries to take position against Israelis bullying."
Referring to the Zionist crimes in Palestine and Lebanon, the statement goes on to criticize the, 'meaningful silence of the Western countries and international community' adding the silence is a kind of support for the criminal acts of Israel."
The EC said, "The silence and indifference caused the
illegitimate regime of Israel to extend its invasion to new dimensions.

Iran-EC-Condemnation /POLO/ Expediency Council condemns new crimes by Zionist regime
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« Reply #48 on: July 15, 2006, 10:24:54 PM »

Israelis aggressive behavior has no conformity with any logic
Tehran, July 16, IRNA

Greece-Mottaki-Papandreou
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said, Israelis aggressive behavior has no conformity with any logic or principle.

Mottaki, who is in Greek Samous Island to address world Congress of International Socialists, in a meeting with George Papandreou, former Greek prime minister and current head of International Socialist Council discussed world developments, especially situation in Lebanon and Palestine.

Referring to the sensitive Middle East developments, Mottaki said the Zionist regime hostile approaches and targeting innocent people, including children and women and residential areas do not have conformity with any principle and logic.

Iranian FM said the US unilateral support of the Zionist regime has caused the world public opinion to feel increasingly disgusted at their inhuman policies.

Concerning the outcome of his trip to Athens, Mottaki said, "We had constructive negotiations with Greek PM about gas pipeline project and also necessity of expansion of ties in the framework of mutual interests."

Israelis aggressive behavior has no conformity with any logic
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« Reply #49 on: July 15, 2006, 10:26:24 PM »

 Ahmadinejad, Lahoud stress unity
Tabriz, East Azarbaijan, July 14, IRNA

Iran-Lebanon-Developments
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has underlined the importance of maintaining unity and solidarity among Lebanese people in this sensitive time.


In a telephone conversation with his Lebanese counterpart Emile Lahoud late on Thursday, President Ahmadinejad expressed sorrow over the martyrdom of some Lebanese people and financial damage on the infrastructure of Lebanon because of the Israeli strikes.

He said the Iranian government and nation give support to Lebanon.

"We feel united with the Lebanese people and government," he said, hoping for their victory over the Zionist regime.

Lebanon's Lahoud elucidated latest developments in Lebanon and thanked Iran for its aid.

Lahoud said the Lebanese people will go on their resistance against the Israeli attacks.

"We want nothing except materialization of our rights and we will resist and insist on this," he stressed.

He gave assurance that victory will be for the Lebanese nation and army.

Ahmadinejad, Lahoud stress unity
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« Reply #50 on: July 15, 2006, 10:27:42 PM »

 Iranian president's message handed over to Saudi king
Riyadh, July 15, IRNA

Iran-Saudi Arabia-Message
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's message was submitted to Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz in Jeddah on Saturday afternoon.


Visiting Iranian Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Larijani handed over the message to King Abdullah.

In the meeting, the two sides discussed the latest developments on Iran's peaceful nuclear activities and stressed on necessity of using diplomatic ways, including dialogue, to solve the issue.

Political developments in the Middle East, including extensive attack of the Zionist army to Lebanon and Palestine were among topics which the two sides discussed.

They condemned the Israeli attack to Lebanon and Palestine and called the world community to impose pressure on Israel to stop this aggression.

Larijani at the head of a high political delegation arrived in Jeddah in western Saudi Arabia on Saturday and was welcomed by Saudi officials.

Iranian president's message handed over to Saudi king
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« Reply #51 on: July 15, 2006, 10:29:02 PM »

 Diplomat condemns Zionist attacks on residential areas of Lebanon
Beirut, July 15, IRNA

Iran-Lebanon-Palestine
Iran's Ambassador to Beirut Mohammad Sheibani in a meeting with the speaker of Lebanon's National Assembly and Leader of Shiite Amal Movement Nabih Berri here Saturday condemned attacks of Zionist regimes on residential areas and infrastructures of South Lebanon resulting in the loss of civilian lives.


At the meeting, the two officials reviewed the latest political and military developments in Lebanon.

The Iranian diplomat underlined Iran's support for the Lebanese government, nation and Hezbollah.

He hoped that in today's meeting in Cairo, Egypt, the Islamic and Arab states, in particular Arab foreign ministers, will make their best diplomatic efforts to stop Israel's invasion of South Lebanon and strongly support the resistance of its government and nation.

Following the detention of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah, the Zionist regime's army launched attacks on Lebanon, particularly its southern and eastern areas, for three consecutive days.

During the attacks, which still continue, dozens of individuals were either killed or wounded and great material loss was inflicted on the country's infrastructural installations.

Secretary General of Lebanese Hezbollah Party Seyed Hassan Nasrollah, in a message broadcast on local radio and television last night, declared the 'extensive war' of Hezbollah against the aggression of the Zionist regime.

Nasrollah threatened, in his message, that Hezbollah will target the center of the occupied lands, including the strategic port city of Haifa.

Diplomat condemns Zionist attacks on residential areas of Lebanon
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« Reply #52 on: July 15, 2006, 10:33:08 PM »

 Abbas, Rice discuss Israeli operations in Gaza, Lebanon
2006-07-15 19:02:09

Special Report: Israel launches Gaza assault
New clash between Israeli, Lebanese troops

    RAMALLAH, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat revealed on Saturday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have discussed the Israeli "aggressions" against the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.

    Abbas received a call from Rice on Friday during his meeting with visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Welch at Abbas' headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Erekat told reporters.

    He said that "Abbas and Rice talked over means of stopping the Israeli aggression on both the Gaza Strip and Lebanon," especially the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.

    According to Erekat, both Rice and Abbas discussed ways to solve the Rafah crossing issue on the borders between Gaza and Egypt, as well as the Israeli soldier held captive by Palestinian militant groups since June 25.

    Following the capture of the soldier by Palestinian militants, Israel closed all crossing points in and out of the Gaza Strip, including Rafah terminal which is the only crossing for Gaza people to the outside world.

    So far, the Israeli army has launched a large-scale air and ground offensive that killed more than 85 Palestinians and destroyed the only power plant.

    Erekat stressed that Egypt should continue its diplomatic efforts to settle the issue of the captured Israeli soldier and get Gaza Strip out of the current bottleneck.

    The Palestinians want a swap to exchange female, younger prisoners and prisoners serving long sentence terms for the captive Corporal Gilad Shalit.

    Concerning the turmoil on the Lebanese prospect, Erekat denounced Israeli air strike against Lebanese targets.

    Erekat also condemned the Israeli "aggression" on Lebanon and appealed to the international community to intervene to prevent from a regional war. Enditem


Abbas, Rice discuss Israeli operations in Gaza, Lebanon
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« Reply #53 on: July 15, 2006, 10:36:15 PM »

G8 begins with divisions over Lebanon
Web posted at: 7/16/2006 4:13:55
Source ::: REUTERS

st petersburg • Middle East conflict muscled its way onto the Group of Eight agenda yesterday, setting the United States, a strong backer of Israel, against those who say the Jewish state has been too violent.

US President George W Bush has called on Israel to avoid civilian casualties but has refused to tell it to halt its bombardment of Lebanon, which G8 partner France and the European Union have called an excessive response to Hezbollah militant attacks.

“This is a very serious situation and no one should pretend otherwise. This is a situation we have to calm down and we have to calm down quickly,” said a spokesman for British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

“We understand that there were provocations against Israel, but we believe the use of force by Israel was disproportionate,” said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

The rising death toll from Israel’s four-day offensive and Hezbollah’s rocket attacks deep into northern Israel has overshadowed the formal agenda of the meeting of the world’s leading industrialised nations.

Russia, first-time host, had wanted to focus on security of energy supplies. But the leaders of Japan, Russia, Britain, Germany, Canada, Italy, France and the United States will instead discuss divisions over the Middle East, Iran and trade.

At a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Bush firmly blamed Middle East violence on Hezbollah militants. The Kremlin leader agreed but asked for a “balanced” response from Israeli forces.

Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, told reporters the Hezbollah attacks have “threatened to plunge the region into violence”.

Diplomats have begun work on a statement on the Middle East crisis but strains were quickly visible among the leaders.

France called on the G8 to agree that violence would not resolve the situation, a formulation at odds with Bush’s strong support for Israel. Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi cast doubt on whether a common G8 position could be agreed.

“The president (Jacques Chirac) is expecting everybody to unite around the goal of de-escalating the situation,” French presidential spokesman Jerome Bonnafont told reporters.

Some hope persists world leaders will send a signal of willingness to abandon fiercely-held negotiating positions, thereby ending a deadlock on global trade talks.

The goodwill exuded by Bush offset Russia’s disappointment at failing to get a deal with Washington that would pave the way for Russian entry into the World Trade Organisation.

“We are ready to make an effort to get a deal if the others can also make that effort,” EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters.

Putin’s main hope for the summit is to display his nation’s new-found self-confidence as it rides an economic boom as a top oil and gas exporter. It also wants to rid itself of the image of being a poor outsider in the group.

The summit began yesterday with dinner for the leaders at the 18th century lavishly restored and glittering Constantine Palace just outside Russia’s second city off the Gulf of Finland.

Formal sessions are today and tomorrow.

G8 begins with divisions over Lebanon
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« Reply #54 on: July 15, 2006, 10:38:55 PM »

PM promises to extend control over all Lebanon, including Hezbollah's south


By Zeina Karam
ASSOCIATED PRESS

12:56 p.m. July 15, 2006

BEIRUT, Lebanon – Prime Minister Fuad Saniora pledged Saturday to extend his government's control over all of Lebanon, signaling he wants to end Hezbollah's autonomy in the south – a top Israeli demand.

But he said he needed the United Nations to first press for a cease-fire to halt Israel's devastating military blitz, which has killed at least 106 Lebanese since Wednesday, most of them civilians.

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“We call for working to extend the state's authority over all its territories in south Lebanon, in cooperation with the United Nations, and working to recover all Lebanese territories and exercising full sovereignty of the state over those territories,” Saniora said in a televised address to the nation.

His voice cracking with emotion, Saniora criticized Hezbollah without naming the group, saying Lebanon “cannot rise and get back on its feet if its government is the last to know.”

“The government alone has the legitimate right to decide on matters of peace and war because it represents the will of the Lebanese people,” he said.

Saniora called for the United Nations to intervene to stop bloody cross-border fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in south Lebanon.

“We call for an immediate and comprehensive cease-fire under United Nations auspices,” he said.

The Lebanese Cabinet has refused to condone Hezbollah's kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers Wednesday, an action that triggered Israel's offensive on Lebanon, the worst attack on its neighbor in 24 years.

Saniora did not elaborate on how his government would work with the United Nations to reassert Lebanese authority over its entire territory.

Israel reacted coolly.

“It's an excellent declaration but he doesn't need our permission... We have to see what they do and not what they say,” Vice Premier Shimon Peres told Israel's Channel 2 TV. He said Lebanon has to prove it is serious by deploying troops on the southern border.

“A foreign body (Hezbollah) has entered the area and it's your job to get them out of there,” he said.

Saniora declared Lebanon a “disaster-stricken country” and accused Israel of executing an “immoral and illegitimate collective punishment” of the Lebanese people.

He appealed for national unity and spoke to the Lebanese people, saying: “We will surpass the ordeal, and we will face up to the challenge. We will rebuild what the enemy has destroyed as we always did.”

PM promises to extend control over all Lebanon, including Hezbollah's south
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« Reply #55 on: July 15, 2006, 11:06:31 PM »

One dead after Hizbullah hits Israeli warship
Emma Charlton
AFP
July 15, 2006

JERUSALEM --  An Israeli sailor was confirmed dead and three remained missing on Saturday after Hizbullah struck a warship off the Lebanese coast in a dramatic display of the Shia guerrilla group's military capabilities.

Rescuers recovered one body off the coast of Beirut on Saturday and the search was continuing for the three others, an army spokeswoman said.

The sailor was the ninth Israeli serviceman to be killed since the flare-up of Israeli-Lebanese violence sparked by the abduction of two Israeli soldiers in a deadly Hizbullah raid on Wednesday.

Friday's attack marked Hizbullah's first successful strike on an Israeli warship, dealing an unprecedented blow to the Israeli army, by far the most powerful in the Middle East.

The attack came shortly after Israel launched air strikes on the home and office of Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who emerged unscathed from the attacks to declare "open war" on the Jewish state.

The ship, which the Israeli army said was a SAAR 5 missile corvette, one of the modern of its fleet, was enforcing a blockade off the coast of Beirut when it was hit.

An army spokeswoman denied media reports that it had been struck by an explosives-laden drone - but the strike was set to raise questions about the full extent of Hizbullah's strike capacity.

Nasrallah boasted in May that his movement had no fewer than 12,000 missiles in its arsenal, of which around 100 are believed to have the necessary 150-kilometer (90-miles) range to reach Tel Aviv, according to Jane's Defence Weekly.

Since Hizbullah's raid on Wednesday, Israel has vowed to destroy the militia entirely, targeting its bases in south Lebanon and its political infrastructure in the Beirut suburbs.

According to Israeli media, the warship was 16 kilometers (10 miles) from the Beirut coast at the time of the attack and was hit in the stern. The army refused to confirm either detail.

Early on Saturday the Israeli corvette remained at sea off the coast of Beirut in a "semi-operational" state, the military said.

A foreign civilian vessel, believed to be Egyptian, was also hit and set on fire, its passengers and crew rescued by a third boat, according to an army spokeswoman, who gave no details of casualties on the ship.

The Israeli army said its vessel had been involved in artillery operations on the Gaza Strip border prior to the attack, but a spokeswoman refused to confirm what role it had played in Israel's four-day assault on Lebanon.

More than 70 civilians have been killed and almost 200 wounded since Israel started the onslaught after Hizbullah captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others at the border on Wednesday.

The SAAR 5 is a long-range missile ship designed in cooperation with the Israeli military and first put into service around 10 years ago. Designed for a 75-man crew, the 85-meter (187-foot) ship is equipped with a missile launcher, an anti-aerial missile defense system and helicopter pad, according to Israeli public radio.

One dead after Hizbullah hits Israeli warship
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« Reply #56 on: July 15, 2006, 11:08:56 PM »

Two Palestinians die as 1,000 wait at shut Egypt-Gaza border crossing
Joseph Mayton
Middle East Times
July 15, 2006

RAFAH, Egypt --  As the Israeli military forces on Friday kept up their attacks on Lebanon and Gaza, two Palestinians died while waiting to be allowed through a closed border crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

Nearly 1,000 Palestinians are stranded at the Rafah crossing, which has been sealed by Israel. They are growing increasingly desperate.

UPDATE July 15: Egyptian medical and security teams were sent on Saturday to the Rafah border crossing after some 2,000 Palestinians forced their way back into the Gaza Strip. Police reinforcements were deployed along the roads leading to the border town of Rafah while extra medical supplies were sent to the region's hospitals, the official MENA news agency said, adding, "Ambulances were also dispatched to Rafah to face any emergency."

On Friday, some 2,000 Palestinians forced their way into the Gaza Strip past Egyptian and Palestinian security after militants blew a hole in the border wall before order was restored. The border crossing, Gaza's only passage to the rest of the world, has been closed almost continuously since the June 25 capture of an Israeli soldier by Gaza militants sparked a massive Israeli military offensive in the territory.

Just outside the big, dusty grates that mark the entrance to the no-man's land between the two countries, some 500 refugees sit in make-shift tents awaiting word from the Israelis about when they can go home.

On Friday morning, 24-year-old Palestinian Maher Wadi died there. As his body was allowed through the crossing and into Gaza for burial, Farouk Salam looked to the sky, muttering, "where is the justice?"

Salam, a post office manager in Gaza City for the Palestinian Authority looked around at his brothers and sisters, finally turning and asking if this is what Israel wants for the Palestinians.

"Do you call this just punishment?" Salam asked referring to the Israeli military incursions into Gaza and the closure of all its border posts in response to the capture of an Israeli soldier last week by the Hamas military wing.

"A two-year-old child has died. A 15-year-old has died, and adults have died," he claimed, adding, "I don't care about the kidnapped soldier anymore. All I want to do is go home."

The Egyptian Red Crescent, which is monitoring the humanitarian situation, was unwilling to confirm nor deny Salam's claim.

"While I can't answer your question for certain, I can say that people have died here and in Al Arish," a Red Crescent official, who was not authorized to speak to the media, said.

The tents, no larger than a basketball court are now called home for hundreds of refugees waiting to be allowed to cross the border. The biggest worry for many of them is that the world is turning a blind eye to them now that all the headlines are coming out of Lebanon.

"Shortly after Hizbullah captured the two soldiers Kofi Annan said they must be returned unharmed," said Mueen Khadeeb, a physical therapist in Gaza, adding, "But he won't say anything about us stuck here."

Khadeeb said that he and his nine family members have been waiting at the Rafah border for more than a month. They had returned from a trip to Istanbul where his mother, aged 75, received medical treatment.

"Peace has been far too good for Israel," Khadeeb said. "Look at what the Egypt-Israel peace treaty has done for us. [Israel] can keep us away from our homes. Then all the pressure is put on the Egyptians to find a solution.

"It isn't surprising that Egyptians despise us and don't want us here," he said. "I don't blame them, we don't want to be here. We want to be home in Gaza."

Khadeeb turned to his compatriots sitting around on their tiny mattresses and shouted a question: "Where do you want to die?" The response is a resounding "Palestine!"

There is not an atmosphere of fear and hate in the newly created camp.

Walking around the area, it is apparent that there is not an atmosphere of fear and hatred. People sit around the cafeteria, chatting and puffing on water-pipes and are generally in good spirits. "What can we do but remain happy and hopeful that this situation will someday come to an end," said a smoker in between drags of his sheesha (nargile).

The situation facing the refugees can be summed up by the words of Salma, a girl of 10, who stood by listening intently to the questions posed to the adults.

"I want to see my father and brother and I don't understand why I am not allowed to," Salma said. "My mom says it is America's fault, but I don't understand ... I want my family."

Two Palestinians die as 1,000 wait at shut Egypt-Gaza border crossing
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« Reply #57 on: July 15, 2006, 11:10:55 PM »

Somali president rules out talks with Islamists
AFP

July 14, 2006

BAIDOA, Somalia --  Somalia's transitional president, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, on Friday ruled out talks with the country's Islamic courts that control the capital, saying that they had broken earlier agreements and were plotting to seize more territory.

A second round of Arab League-sponsored talks aimed at easing tensions between the two sides had been set to begin on Saturday in the Sudanese capital but were placed on hold on Thursday amid government questions about the Islamists' credibility as negotiating partners.

Yusuf told the Somali parliament on Friday that the Islamic courts could not be trusted as they had violated a truce and mutual recognition pact agreed at a first meeting in Khartoum last month by seizing new land.

"The courts violated the previous agreement signed in Khartoum," he told lawmakers in Baidoa, northwest of the capital, where the transitional government is based due to insecurity in Mogadishu.

"The most important parts [of the agreement] were the recognition of each other and cessation of hostilities," Yusuf said, maintaining that Islamic militia had violated both provisions and planned further advances.

He said that the Islamists, who he claimed had replaced "moderates" with "extremists" in their leadership, were plotting to "attack Baidoa and the southern port of Kismayo."

"Therefore, I don't see the use of meeting them in Khartoum again," Yusuf said. "This is not the time to meet them. We will find better solutions, I don't see the value of meeting warriors."

The meeting in Khartoum was an element of international efforts to restore peace and stability to Somalia, which has been without a functioning central authority since 1991, and end competition to fill the power vacuum.

On June 22 the two sides signed a preliminary accord after the Islamists routed a US-backed alliance of warlords in fierce battles for control of Mogadishu that alarmed many.

At the time the two sides agreed to meet again on July 15 to thrash out security and governance arrangements but since then the Islamists have further expanded their territory, drawing charges that they violated the deal.

Just this week the Islamic militia routed the last remaining lone warlord in Mogadishu, took control of the city's main port, and demanded that all government property and facilities be turned over to them.

The rise of the Islamist alliance has caused concern in Washington, which says that it fears a Taliban-style takeover of Somalia.

The United States, other Western countries, and the United Nations have all backed the Arab League initiative to bring the Islamists and the government together in a bid to prevent them descending into conflict.

But the two sides are embroiled in longstanding disputes, notably over the possible deployment of foreign peacekeepers to help support the government, something that Yusuf avidly backs and the Islamists vehemently oppose.

Such a deployment came closer on Thursday when the UN Security Council approved an easing of the arms embargo on Somalia in support of an African Union request to help support a regional peacekeeping mission.

Yusuf on Friday welcomed the move, calling it "a good step" and blasting those opposed, including the Islamists who have vowed to resist and fight any foreign troops on Somali soil.

"Those who reject the deployment have other motives and we should think of that," he told the lawmakers.

Somali president rules out talks with Islamists
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« Reply #58 on: July 15, 2006, 11:15:55 PM »

Tehran warns of long-drawn nuclear dispute
By Aleander Balzan
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - After meeting EU foreign policy envoy Javier Solana, Iran's nuclear chief negotiator Ali Larijani warned that there is a "long road" before the nuclear dispute with Tehran is solved.

Mr Solana and Mr Larijani met in Brussels on Tuesday (11 July).

"We had very wide-ranging discussions. We were following up on the Tehran negotiations and in the meantime we have had contacts by telephone," Mr Solana told journalists after the meeting.


Mr Solana explained that the duo discussed the developments since he initially offered an incentives package including of civic nuclear co-operation to Tehran last month.

Mr Solana also remarked that he would be meeting the foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (USA, Russia, China, France, and UK) and Germany on Wednesday (12 July).

"We will make an analysis...to see how we proceed," he added.

Western powers are calling on Iran to give a reply before the G8 summit in Russia which will start on Saturday (15 July), but Iran has so far given no formal response on the offered compromise.

"During these negotiations certain important points came up. Mr Solana must consult his friends, and then we will have to define together how we will proceed, because we have a long road to travel," Mr Larijani said after the meeting.

"We have to be precise and patient," Mr Larijani remarked.

Tehran says it has the right to build nuclear facilities for peaceful purposes under international law, but the west suspects its uranium programme is designed for weapons use.

The internationally supported EU package, which has not been officially made public, is said by diplomats to offer international support to Iran for building a light water nuclear reactor.

If Iran does not accept the offer, the country could get bank accounts frozen and a visa ban slapped on its officials.

Tehran warns of long-drawn nuclear dispute
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« Reply #59 on: July 15, 2006, 11:17:38 PM »

UN powers lose patience with Iran
13.07.2006 - 09:43 CET | By Lucia Kubosova
The world's leading powers have agreed to refer the Iranian nuclear dossier back to the UN after no progress was achieved on an EU-designed compromise package.

"We have no choice but to return to the security council and continue the process suspended two months ago," said Philippe Douste-Blazy, the French foreign minister, after meeting his counterparts from other permanent members of the UN security council - the US, UK, Russia and China - as well as Germany.


The meeting was held in Paris on Wednesday (12 July), ahead of a gathering of the G8 - the world's most industralised nations - in St Petersburg this weekend.

Mr Blazy said "The Iranians have given no indication at all that they are prepared to engage seriously on the substance of our proposals."

He referred to Tuesday's discussion between the EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana and the Iranian chief negotiator Ali Larijani which saw no clear response from the Islamist republic on the EU's offer to solve the international dispute.

Crucially, Iran has refused to accept the key pre-condition for kicking off the talks - to suspend uranium enrichment.

Tehran argues enrichment only serves peaceful energy purposes, while the west fears it could be used for development of nuclear weapons.

The Iranians have been pressing for more time to take a decision while firmly rejecting any deadlines - but the French foreign minister Douste-Blazy slammed the attitude as "deceiving."

"It is normal that such study takes some time. But we had said that it should be a matter of weeks, not months," he told the French daily Le Figaro.

He formulated three messages to Tehran. "First, a message of unity, to tell Iran that we are united in asking for answers to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency], and UN Security Council demands."

"Then, a message of open-mindedness, to recall our generous offer that will allow creating a relation of cooperation with Iran. Finally, a message of firmness, to reaffirm the concerns of the international community," said Mr Douste-Blazy.

The EU's compromise package is expected to be unveiled on Thursday after being kept secret for weeks to boost its chances of agreement.

"Since the Iranians have not responded we think we should circulate the document," one European diplomat was quoted as saying by the Financial Times.

The offer reportedly includes incentives such as lifting US sanctions on sectors like telecommunications, agriculture or aircraft parts, plus a provision of light water nuclear reactors and enriched fuel, and support for the country's World Trade Organisation membership.

The UN's next move could be a resolution which would make it mandatory for Iran to freeze its nuclear activities - otherwise, it would face international sanctions.

UN powers lose patience with Iran
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