- - Tuesday, April 3, 2012

RAMALLAH — Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are to hold talks soon in what would be their first public meeting in more than two months, a senior official said Tuesday.

“There are preparations with the Israeli side to have a meeting … in the next few hours or days,” the senior Palestinian official told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity.

The last time the negotiators met publicly was on Jan. 25 in Amman, Jordan, in what was the last of five exploratory meetings aimed at finding a way back to direct negotiations. They ended without any progress.

EGYPT


Muslim Brotherhood defends nomination

CAIRO — The Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday defended its decision to run its deputy leader in a presidential election amid splits in the movement and accusations that the Islamists are trying to monopolize power.

The Brotherhood backtracked on an earlier pledge not to contest May’s presidential election by announcing on Saturday that it would field deputy leader Khairat El-Shater.

The Brotherhood’s supreme guide, Mohammed Badie, dismissed reports that the movement had been almost evenly split on nominating Mr. Shater, a multimillionaire businessman who spent years in prison during President Hosni Mubarak’s rule.

ISRAEL

Palestinians honor columnist Helen Thomas

JERUSALEM — The top Palestinian envoy to the U.S. has awarded longtime American journalist Helen Thomas for taking a stand against the Israeli occupation, a senior official said Tuesday.

Ms. Thomas‘ observation that Israelis should get “out of Palestine” forced her into retirement in 2010 and was denounced by the White House and her press corps colleagues.

But Palestinians appreciated her position, and Maen Erekat, the Palestinian envoy to Washington, recently hosted Ms. Thomas at a dinner at his residence, the official said.

QATAR

Qatar refuses to hand over Iraq’s fugitive VP

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