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Fatah: Palestinians Refuse to Declare Unilateral Independence

Palestinian authorities do not intend to declare unilateral independence, a top Fatah member said Tuesday following talks with senior Russian officials.

"We do not intend to unilaterally declare independence," Fatah member Azzam al-Ahmed said one day after meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

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Palestinian PM Fayyad Hospitalized in U.S.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was recovering from a procedure in hospital Tuesday after suffering heart trouble during a private U.S. visit, his office said.

Fayyad was taken to the Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas on Sunday after complaining of "severe pains in the chest," the premier's office in Ramallah said in a statement.

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Heaviest NATO Air Strikes Rock Tripoli

Powerful explosions rocked Tripoli Tuesday as NATO launched its heaviest bombardment yet of the capital, while France and Britain piled pressure on Moammar Gadhafi by bringing attack helicopters into the Libya fray.

Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim told reporters that at least three people died and 150 were wounded in the air strikes, which he said targeted a deserted military barracks but which instead hit civilians living nearby.

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Blast at Iran Oil Refinery during Ahmadinejad Visit

An accidental blast at Iran's Abadan's oil refinery killed at least one person and injured more than 20 during a visit Tuesday by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was not affected and went on to make a televised speech, reports said.

"A technical fault led to an explosion in one of the units of this refinery," Fars news agency said, referring to the oil facility in the southwestern city of Abadan.

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Netanyahu Vows No Withdrawal to ‘Indefensible’ 1967 Border

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday vowed that the Jewish state would never withdraw to the "indefensible" 1967 border, revisiting a spat over the issue with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Netanyahu told the powerful pro-Israel lobby said he would spell out his vision for peace with the Palestinians in a speech to Congress on Tuesday, but promised that would not include a withdrawal to lines that existed before the 1967 Six Day War.

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6 Dead in Fierce Gunbattle after Saleh Refuses to Ink Yemen Deal

Six people were killed and dozens wounded during armed clashes in Sanaa on Monday between police and supporters of powerful opposition tribal chief Sadiq al-Ahmar, tribal sources and state media said.

The clashes came a day after President Ali Abdullah Saleh refused to ink an accord brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) under which he would cede power within 30 days in exchange for immunity from prosecution for himself and his aides.

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EU Urges 'Early' Quartet Meeting on Mideast Peace

The European Union, welcoming U.S. President Barack Obama's Middle East policy shift, Monday called for an "early meeting" of the Quartet group of world powers seeking an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

It also welcomed the recent reconciliation between rival Palestinian leaders from Fatah and Hamas and reiterated readiness to recognize a Palestinian state "when appropriate".

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Gadhafi Must Leave Libya, U.S. Says, As Feltman Visits Rebels

The United States on Monday called on Moammar Gadhafi to leave Libya as Washington's most senior envoy to date held talks in the rebel capital in another boost to forces fighting to oust the strongman.

Washington's call came a day after the European Union opened an office in the rebel bastion of Benghazi to show its "long term" support to the rebels who took their diplomatic offensive to NATO's sole Muslim member Turkey.

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EU Tightens Sanctions on Iran, 100 Firms ‘Blacklisted’

The EU tightened its sanctions on Iran on Monday, adding more than 100 firms to a blacklist of companies hit by an assets freeze over Tehran's disputed nuclear program, diplomats said.

EU foreign ministers adopted the new restrictive measures amid efforts to jump start international talks aimed at convincing Iran to halt its nuclear activities.

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EU Slaps Sanctions on Assad, Syria Slams Move as Meddling in Its Affairs

Europe tightened the noose on President Bashar al-Assad Monday, imposing sanctions on the Syrian leader for the first time while calling for quick Middle East peace talks as it responded to the Arab Spring.

Long reluctant to target the Syrian leader directly, the European Union's decision to slap an assets freeze and travel ban on Assad is the latest in a string of measures against his regime, though the effects are unclear.

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