- - Tuesday, May 3, 2011

YEMEN

Ruler asks mediator to delay visit

SANAA | Two associates of Yemen’s president say he has asked a mediator from the neighboring Gulf countries seeking to resolve the nation’s crisis to delay his visit indefinitely.

The request is the latest blow to attempts to resolve weeks of anti-government unrest in this impoverished Arab country.

The two senior officials said Tuesday that President Ali Abdullah Saleh sent a formal letter to Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, general-secretary of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), requesting the delay.

The letter was sent Monday, just as Mr. al-Zayani was expecting to meet with Mr. Saleh to ask him to resign as part of the GCC’s initiative to resolve the crisis, the officials said on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

PALESTINIANS

Small factions sign reconciliation deal

CAIRO | Small Palestinian factions signed a reconciliation deal on Tuesday ahead of a formal ceremony this week to celebrate the accord designed to end a four-year rift between the biggest factions, Hamas and Fatah.

Egypt last week brokered the accord between the Islamist Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, and the secular Fatah, which heads the U.S.-backed Palestinian Authority and controls self-rule areas of the occupied West Bank.

Palestinians see this reconciliation as crucial for their drive to establish an independent state in the territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war.

Israel has denounced the deal, saying Fatah must choose to deal with Hamas or Israel.

The accord calls for creating an interim unity government for the West Bank and Gaza Strip instead of the administrations led by Fatah and Hamas, which currently run each territory.

SYRIA

Regime resorts to intimidation, threats

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