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Issue : May 2005

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  • Washington pledges funds to PASubscription

    News27 May, 2005

    US President Bush pledged $50 million in direct aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) during a meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas on 26 May. The money is part of an existing $350 million aid package and will be administered by the Palestinian Finance Ministry to build housing, schools, health clinics and roads in Gaza. 'These funds will be used to improve the quality of life of the Palestinians living in Gaza, where poverty and unemployment are very high,' Bush said. The ...

  • Egyptians say yes to multi-candidate presidential electionsSubscription

    News27 May, 2005

    Egyptians have approved in a national referendum a change to the constitution that will allow multi-candidate presidential elections, Interior Minster Habib al-Adli announced on 26 May. Opposition groups had asked voters to boycott the poll, in which Cairo said just over half of registered voters participated. Al-Adli said the vote had been 'the highest turnout ever registered in a referendum'. More than 80 per cent of voters agreed to replace the existing referendum system where ...

  • Aoun to stand alone in parliamentary electionsSubscription

    News27 May, 2005

    Christian leader and former exile Michel Aoun announced on 26 May that he would stand for a parliamentary seat in upcoming elections in the mainly Christian district of Jbeil-Kesrwan, north of Beirut. Aoun said he did not wish to announce his own electoral list after failing to agree on joint slates with Druze leader Walid Jumblatt and Saad Hariri, the son of the late former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Aoun has said that Jumblatt and Hariri refused to allow him to nominate candidates ...

  • Donors pledge Darfur peacekeeping fundsSubscription

    News26 May, 2005

    International donors on 26 May pledged more than $200 million and material support after UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged them to fund an expanded peacekeeping force in the western Sudanese region of Darfur. At a pledging conference at African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Annan said organisations would end up financing a massive relief effort if fighting between rebel forces and Khartoum and Arab militias continued to limit food resources. 'If violence and fear prevent ...

  • Hezbollah just posturing, says Tel AvivSubscription

    News26 May, 2005

    Tel Aviv said on 26 May that remarks made by Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah that the Shia militia's fighters could hit Israel with 12,000 rockets was just electioneering. 'It's a threat on paper only and I don't think Hezbollah will behave irrationally,' said Israeli intelligence chief Emiram Levine. 'All of the north of occupied Palestine, its settlements, airports, seaports, fields, factories and farms, is under the feet and hands of the Islamic resistance,' ...

  • Rohani warns nuclear agreement might not holdSubscription

    News26 May, 2005

    Tehran's chief negotiator Hassan Rohani said on 26 May that Tehran neither accepts nor rejects an agreement reached with the EU after talks in Geneva on 25 May about the future of Iran's nuclear programme. 'We will take it to Tehran and if it is acceptable to Tehran then we can discuss it and finalise the talks. But it might be totally unacceptable to Tehran,' Rohani said. During negotiations, Iran was reported to have agreed to continue the suspension of Tehran's uranium enrichment ...

  • Conflicting statements about Al-Qaeda in Iraq leadershipSubscription

    News26 May, 2005

    Al-Qaeda in Iraq denied in an internet statement published on 26 May that announced it had selected a deputy leader to co-ordinate insurgent activities. An earlier internet posting credited to the group said that Abu Hafs al-Qarni would deputise for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi while he recovered from injuries. Neither report could be verified. The Washington Post reported that Al-Zarqawi, who is rumoured to have been smuggled out of Iraq to recover, was shot during fighting near Ramadi on ...

  • Low turnout challenges credibility of Egyptian referendumSubscription

    News26 May, 2005

    Cairo failed to obtain a credible public endorsement for its new electoral law on 25 May following low voter numbers in a national referendum on the proposed constitutional amendment. Opposition parties had called for a boycott of the poll saying that the new law still excluded opposition candidates from standing for president. 'The last word is yours. I have complete trust in your will to participate to open new horizons for our political life,' President Mubarak said the day before ...

  • WTO to start accession talks with TehranSubscription

    News26 May, 2005

    The World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreed on 26 May to start admission talks with Tehran, who first applied to join the WTO in 1996. 'It was long overdue,' said Mohammed Reza Alborzi, Iran's ambassador to the UN. 'It will open doors to trade co-operation,' he said. The decision, which has been blocked by Washington in a total of 22 general council meetings, came after Tehran and the EU arrived at a new agreement to continue talks and the suspension of Iran's nuclear activities. Alborzi ...

  • King Abdullah calls for reform at forumSubscription

    News26 May, 2005

    King Abdullah said on 22 May that governments in the Middle East must listen to their publics' demand for political and economic reform. 'People want to move forward, they want meaningful reform, they want to see a tangible difference in their lives,' he said at the closing of the World Economic Forum held at the Dead Sea resort of Shuneh. 'We must listen to their voices and we must act,' he said. In reference to pressure from the West for change in the region, the king said that ...

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