- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 15, 2007

BRITAIN

Special ties with U.S. cooling, official hints

LONDON — Britain’s “special relationship” with the United States could be cooling, as a senior government official said that new Prime Minister Gordon Brown and President Bush would not be “joined at the hip.”

Mark Malloch Brown, a Foreign Office minister and former deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, said in a Daily Telegraph interview published yesterday that Britain needs a more “impartial” foreign policy.

“You need to build coalitions which are lateral, which go beyond the bilateral blinkers of the normal partners,” Mr. Malloch Brown said.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s close relationship with Mr. Bush caused tension across Britain. Mr. Blair was sharply criticized for eagerly joining the U.S.-led Iraq war.

On Friday, British newspapers suggested a speech in Washington by International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander subtly critiqued Mr. Bush’s policies.

WEST BANK

Abbas installs new government

RAMALLAH — President Mahmoud Abbas consolidated his control of the West Bank yesterday, installing an interim government of moderates to lead indefinitely.

While Israel considered ways to support the West Bank leadership, the militant Islamic Hamas — in control of the Gaza Strip — called a special session of the Palestinian parliament for today to challenge the new government.

The latest power play followed Hamas’ violent takeover of Gaza last month, which led to the dissolution of the power-sharing coalition between Hamas and Mr. Abbas‘ Fatah movement.

The emergency Cabinet’s one-month term expired Friday. Mr. Abbas immediately replaced it yesterday with an indefinite interim Cabinet, to be led by Prime Minister Salem Fayyad.

LEBANON

Feuding factions meet outside Paris

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