- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 17, 2010

IRAN

China remains opposed to sanctions

BEIJING | China showed no sign Tuesday of throwing its support behind new sanctions against Iran after talks with Britain’s foreign minister, who had hoped to persuade Beijing to join a growing international consensus for more stringent measures.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi maintained that sanctions weren’t the solution to disagreements over Iran’s nuclear program and that more talks were the way forward.

“Sanctions do not provide a fundamental solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. Ultimately, this issue has to be appropriately resolved through peaceful negotiations,” Mr. Yang said at a joint press conference with Britain’s David Miliband after their discussions in Beijing.

With Russia appearing to move closer to supporting new sanctions, China — which depends on Iran for much of its energy needs — would be the only one of five veto-wielding permanent U.N. Security Council members opposed to the measures.

ISRAEL

Lieberman boycotts Brazilian president

JERUSALEM | Israel’s foreign minister confirmed Tuesday that he boycotted meetings with the visiting Brazilian president, claiming he refused to visit the grave of the founder of modern Zionism.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israeli media he did not attend President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s speech at the Israeli parliament on Monday or two other meetings.

Mr. Lieberman said he was upset at Mr. Lula da Silva’s decision not to visit late Zionist leader Theodor Herzl’s grave, especially while agreeing to lay a wreath at the tomb of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on Wednesday. He claimed the snub breached protocol.

A spokesman from the office of the Brazilian president countered that visiting Herzl’s grave was not accepted protocol for a foreign leader’s trip.

The official said French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi did not visit Herzl’s grave on their latest trips to Israel. Israeli officials say the trip to Herzl’s grave was reinstated recently. Last week, visiting Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. visited the grave site.

EGYPT

Mubarak appears on TV after surgery

CAIRO | Egypt’s president appeared on state television talking with his doctors Tuesday in his first appearance since an operation in Germany 10 days earlier, quelling speculation over the state of his health.

The broadcast followed a swirl of rumors and speculation over the 81-year-old president’s health due to a lack of images of him since the March 6 removal of his gall bladder in a German hospital.

The Information Ministry issued photographs and video of him sitting and talking with his doctors at the Heidelberg University Hospital.

YEMEN

Rebels breach truce, blasts hit Aden

SAN’A | Yemen accused Shi’ite rebels Tuesday of breaching a truce in the north and the country’s main southern city of Aden was hit by small blasts, testing the government as it strives to maintain stability.

Yemen’s supreme security committee said northern rebels were dragging their heels on implementing a cease-fire deal struck with San’a in February to end fighting that drew in neighboring top oil exporter Saudi Arabia.

San’a is also struggling to contain growing violence in its south, where secessionists are seeking independence from the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. A series of small explosions hit Yemen’s main southern city of Aden late Monday, prompting heavy deployment of government troops. There were no reports of deaths or injuries.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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