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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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Hizbullah's Moussawi Salutes Former White House Press Dean's 'Courage'

Hizbullah MP Hussein Moussawi on Wednesday saluted veteran U.S. reporter Helen Thomas' "courage" for her comments against Israel, which sparked a furor Washington and forced her to retire.

"Respected American journalist Helen Thomas' answer shows ... a courageous, bold, honest and free opinion which expresses what people across the globe believe: that Israel is a racist state of murderers and thugs," Moussawi said in a statement.

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