Middle East

Fatah, Hamas leaders fail to reconcile; dialogue postponed

Gaza/Cairo - Rival Fatah and Islamic Hamas leaders announced late Tuesday that the fourth round of Palestinian reconciliation dialogue had ended in Cairo, and they agreed to resume talks on May 16-17.

The talks were held Monday and Tuesday in Cairo on four major issues: forming a unity government, rebuilding security apparatus, reforming the PLO and agreeing on a system for new elections.

Maan news agency quoted Mahmoud al-Zahar, a Hamas negotiator, as saying that the decision to postpone the dialogue "was made to enable the two sides to consult their leaderships over the new Egyptian ideas and proposals."

Rights group accuses UAE royal of torture

Rights group accuses UAE royal of tortureCairo - An international human rights group on Tuesday accused a member of the United Arab Emirates' royal family of brutally torturing an Afghan man and called for his prosecution. The New York-based pressure group Human Rights Watch on Tuesday accused Sheikh Issa bin-Zayed al-Nahyan, a member of the Emirati royal family, of beating, electrocuting, and driving over an Afghan grain dealer.

Israeli foreign minister: Talks with Syria without preconditions

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Jerusalem - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday he was willing to hold peace talks with Syria, but without any prior conditions, such as a guaranteed Israeli return of the occupied Golan Heights. "I'd be happy to hold negotiations with Syria even tonight, but without preconditions, without an ultimatum," he said.

Jordanians give Obama's remarks a cautious welcome

Jordanians give Obama's remarks a cautious welcomeAmman - Jordanian politicians and pundits on Wednesday welcomed US President Barack Obama's strong support for the two-state solution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict - but queried the pressure he would put on the right-wing government in Israel.

"We are optimistic, but we should not go too far in this optimism," Mahmoud Mhaidat, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee at the Jordanian lower house of parliament, told German Press Agency dpa.

Obama calls on Israelis, Palestinians to build confidence

US President Barack ObamaWashington  - US President Barack Obama Tuesday called on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to take steps in the coming months to build confidence and establish a foundation for resuming peace talks.

Obama, meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah, said the United States plans to be deeply involved in the peace process to build a better future for Israelis and Palestinians.

"My hope would be that, over the next several months, that you start seeing gestures of good faith on all sides," Obama said.

Ten Mediterranean countries urge Israel to stop settlements

Ten Mediterranean countries urge Israel to stop settlementsCordoba, Spain - Ten western Mediterranean countries Tuesday urged Israel to open the frontiers of the Gaza Strip and to stop illegal Jewish settlements.

"Israel may have rights, but above all, it has duties towards its neighbours and the rest of the international community," Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi-Fihri said in the southern Spanish city of Cordoba.