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“We expect an arrangement and signing of a deal to be completed - the sooner the better,” opposition leader Mohammed Basindwa, who is seen as a top candidate to lead a transitional government, told Reuters.

Yemen’s Western and Gulf Arab allies have tried for weeks to mediate a solution to a three-month crisis in which protesters, inspired by the toppling of leaders in Egypt and Tunisia, have taken to the street demanding an end to Mr. Saleh’s 32-year rule.

ISRAEL

Netanyahu to travel to London, Paris

JERUSALEM | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet next week with his British and French counterparts, his office said, an apparent attempt to counter support for a Palestinian initiative to set the parameters of a peace deal.

Mr. Netanyahu’s trip comes after Britain, France and Germany tried two weeks ago to base a final Israeli-Palestinian peace deal on the 1967 line that marks the West Bank in an initiative to the “Quartet” of Mideast peacemakers, made up of the U.S., U.N., EU and Russia. The U.S. blocked the initiative.

JORDAN

Police recover 7 ancient manuscripts

AMMAN | Jordan’s archaeology chief said security police recovered seven ancient manuscripts from local smugglers.

The writings are part of 70 manuscripts that Jordanian archaeologists discovered five years ago in a cave in the north.

Later, they were stolen and most were believed to have been smuggled into Israel. Jordan has demanded Israel return the manuscripts but has gotten no response.

Ziad al-Saad said the manuscripts were found by a Bedouin. The relics could be among the earliest Christian writings in existence, but tests are under way to date them and check their authenticity, he said.

Mr. al-Saad said Tuesday that, if verified, the relics could be the most significant find in Christian archaeology since the 1947 discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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