- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 15, 2007

JORDAN

Abdullah asks scholars to aid Mideast youths

PETRA — Jordan’s King Abdullah II urged Nobel laureates gathered at a conference yesterday to help Arab and Israeli youths turn Middle East conflict into a thing of the past.

“Working together, a new generation in the Middle East can move into a future of hope. It is not a distant dream,” he said ahead of talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on the stalled peace process.

“Conflict can be a chapter in history books,” the king said at the opening of the conference.

“Palestinians, Israelis, Jordanians and others can work together to end poverty, conserve resources, protect children. They can be models, in a new era, thus continuing our region’s heritage of coexistence.”

In the Middle East, where more than half of the population is younger than 18, “conflict and economic hurdles are consuming the lives and hopes of millions,” the king told 40 Nobel laureates and other prominent figures.

TURKEY

Erdogan seeks date for U.S. exit in Iraq

ISTANBUL — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called yesterday for a timetable of the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces from Iraq, saying it would help ease the insurgency in Turkey’s war-torn neighbor.

“I would find an immediate withdrawal wrong, but I believe that the announcement of a timetable and the withdrawal of coalition forces in line with that timetable would stop what is almost a civil war in Iraq,” Mr. Erdogan said.

Speaking at the annual assembly of the International Press Institute in Istanbul, he argued that coalition forces should pull out after Iraq has established a “lasting administration and its own security forces.” Istanbul is wary that the insurgency in its southern neighbor could lead to the breakup of Turkey and the emergence of an independent Kurdish state.

Weekly notes …

Libya scoffed Monday at rumors about the health of its ruler, Col. Moammar Gadhafi, after a report said he was in a coma, and aired pictures of the veteran leader on state television. A healthy looking Col. Gadhafi, the Arab world’s longest serving leader, was shown greeting the wife of Minni Minawi, a former Sudanese rebel leader who is now a senior aide to Sudanese President Omar Bashir. … Yemeni forces, augmented by tribesmen in recent days fought some of their toughest battles in a months-old conflict with Shi’ite Muslim rebels in Yemen’s mountainous north. The troops and tribesmen retook a government building in the Razih area this week, a month after it was captured by followers of Shi’ite rebel leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi. Authorities declined to give the number of casualties, but a local official said about 40 soldiers and tribesmen were killed.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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