- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 8, 2007

SAUDI ARABIA

Plan eyed to reopen embassy in Iraq

JIDDA — Saudi Arabia said yesterday it will send a mission to Iraq next week to work on arrangements for the reopening of its embassy in Baghdad, more than four years after the U.S.-led invasion.

“The mission will head for Baghdad next week to look into security conditions there and … the modalities of opening the embassy,” Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told reporters in the Red Sea city of Jidda.

Iraq reopened its embassy in Saudi Arabia in February. It had been closed in December 1990 on the eve of the 1991 Gulf War when ties were broken off by Saddam Hussein’s regime.

EGYPT

Lawyer abandons work for Christian

CAIRO — An Egyptian lawyer said yesterday he was withdrawing an unprecedented petition requesting that the Egyptian authorities recognize the conversion of one of his clients from Islam to Christianity.

Lawyer Mamdouh Nakhla told a press conference he was pulling out of the case of convert Mohamed Hegazy because he did not want to offend Muslims or enflame public opinion.

Mr. Hegazy, a journalist and political activist, said in the petition filed to an administrative court on Saturday that he converted to Christianity four years ago.

IRAQ

Japan’s opposition seeks to end mission

TOKYO — Japan’s opposition said yesterday it would consider calling for an end to an air mission in support of U.S.-led coalition troops and the United Nations in Iraq, after taking control of one house of parliament.

The center-left opposition has already said it opposes extending the mission, which is up for renewal, to help U.S. forces in Afghanistan, with current legislation allowing the operation set to expire on Nov. 1.

But the new opposition-led upper house can be overruled by the lower house, where conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s coalition still enjoys a sweeping majority.

IRAN

Terror plot foiled in south

TEHRAN — Iran said yesterday it has foiled a plot by a rebel group to carry out a “terrorist act” in the south of the country and has arrested the militants involved in the plan.

“Iranian intelligence agents, in their latest operation, have prevented a terrorist act by an anti-revolutionary group,” Intelligence Minister Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie was quoted as saying by the state broadcasting Web site.

Iran’s intelligence services have been on high alert in recent months against supposed plots by its Western enemies to create instability.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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