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Berri: Security Agreement with France Won't Be Adopted Without Lebanon's Definition of Terror

Speaker Nabih Berri has warned that a security agreement with France would not be adopted unless the Lebanese definition of terrorism was included in it.

"Lebanon defines terrorism differently than France. We believe Israel is the heart of terror and those who help it and support the occupation of Arab land … contribute to terrorism as well," Berri told An Nahar in remarks published Wednesday.

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U.S. Urges All Parties to 'Act Responsibly' over Lebanon Gaza-bound Aid Ships

The United States on Wednesday urged "all those wishing to deliver goods to do so through established channels so that their cargo can be inspected and transferred via land crossings into Gaza."

"As we continue to make clear to involved parties, mechanisms exist for the transfer of humanitarian assistance to Gaza," the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

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Gates Accuses EU of Pushing Turkey Away from West

The EU's refusal to accept Turkey as a member swiftly has partly caused Ankara's foreign policy shift and the deterioration in its relations with Israel, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday.

"The deterioration in the relationship between Turkey and Israel over the past year or so is a matter of concern," Gates told reporters in London.

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Russia Freezes Iran S-300 Missile Contract after Sanctions

Russia is freezing a contract to deliver S-300 air defense missiles to Iran after the adoption of the new UN sanctions against Tehran, a Russian source told the Interfax news agency on Thursday.

"It is compulsory to fulfill a decision by the U.N. Security Council and Russia is not an exception here," said the source in the Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation, which supervises Russian arms sales.

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Putin: Israeli Flotilla Raid Must Not Be Repeated, Iran Sanctions Ineffective

Israel's deadly raid on an aid flotilla for Gaza was a tragedy that demands detailed investigation and must not be repeated, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told Agence France Presse in an interview.

"What is especially tragic is that this act was carried out in neutral waters," the Russian prime minister said in a discussion late Monday in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi.

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Netanyahu: Israel Discussing Flotilla Probe but Soldiers Off Limits

Israel on Wednesday was discussing the format of an investigation into its deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted soldiers would be off-limits.

Israel was in talks with "several members of the international community" about the investigation, Netanyahu said, stressing that it should focus on "the pro-Palestinian activists who fought the naval commandos with knives and clubs."

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Obama Meets Abbas, Says Mideast 'Progress' Possible This Year

President Barack Obama Wednesday pledged unwavering commitment to forge significant progress in the Middle East this year, despite the furor whipped up by Israel's raid on a Gaza aid flotilla.

Welcoming Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House, Obama promised the "full weight" of U.S. diplomacy on the latest crisis and to push Israelis and Palestinians out of a "dead end" and into direct peace talks.

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Israel Hails New Iran sanctions but Says More Must Be Done

Israel hailed the U.N. Security Council's decision on Wednesday to slap a fourth set of punitive sanctions on Iran but said more must be done to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons.

"It's an important step in the right direction, but the new sanctions are not sufficient," Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom told public radio.

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Hizbullah Hits Back at Feltman, Says He is Israeli Agent

Hizbullah blasted Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman for a testimony in which he said Hizbullah is the most technically-capable terrorist group in the world.

Feltman "plays the role of an Israeli official in America," Hizbullah said in a statement.

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Berri: How was Cabinet's 'No Decision' Interpreted as Abstention?

Speaker Nabih Berri slammed the Lebanese government's "no decision" on U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran, saying Lebanon should have voted against the draft resolution.

"I still insist on my position that I announced at Baabda palace that Lebanon should have voted against sanctions on Iran, which is a friendly country that has stood next to Lebanon," Berri told An Nahar daily in remarks published Thursday.

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