- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 5, 2009


Rivals pledge peace during campaign

Civil peace ahead of the elections took priority for the Lebanese political rivals who held a fifth round of dialogue at the presidential palace Monday, where discussing the issue of a national defense strategy was shelved for the time being.

The participants pledged to refrain from all forms violence and clashes during the campaigns and June 7 elections.


Gaza reconstruction to get $5 billion

Participants from nearly 70 countries and organizations at a conference for the reconstruction of Gaza pledged almost $5 billion for the Palestinians and called for the immediate opening of the Israeli crossings into the Gaza Strip.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said the assistance will be paid in the next two years to the Palestinian treasury and regional funds.


Clinton and Muallem have short exchange

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton held a brief talk Monday with her Syrian counterpart, Walid Muallem, on the sidelines of the Gaza reconstruction conference in Egypt’s Sharm el Sheik.

Mr. Muallem told journalists the exchange took place during lunch, saying it was “short but very nice.”


Saudis, Syrians bury differences

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal described the recent visit by his Syrian counterpart, Walid Muallem, as “very positive,” saying that “we dug a deep hole and buried the differences.”

He said in a news conference in Paris on Thursday that his country does not seek to return to the past, adding that Saudi Arabia will continue to work toward rapprochement to meet the aspirations of the Arab people.


Parties agree to unity government

Participants in the national Palestinian dialogue in Cairo have agreed to form a unity government before the end of March, according to a statement issued by the factions.

They formed five committees, which will begin meetings on March 10, tasked with resolving all the pending issues, including the form of the next government.

Compiled by Sana Abdallah of the Middle East Times

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