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Yemen President in Riyadh to Sign Transition Plan

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh arrived unexpectedly in Riyadh early Wednesday for the signing of a Gulf-sponsored power-transfer deal, an official here told Agence France Presse.

Saleh's visit came after the U.N.'s Yemen envoy said on Tuesday a deal aimed at ending months of political deadlock had been approved both by the opposition and by the president.

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Leftist Ben Jaafar Elected Head of Tunisia Constituent Assembly

Tunisia entered a new era on Tuesday with the inaugural session of its first-ever democratically elected constituent assembly, 10 months after a popular uprising ended years of autocracy.

The 217-member assembly, the first elected body of the Arab Spring, was expected to confirm a deal whereby the Islamist Ennahda party and two other parties split the country's top three jobs between themselves.

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Egypt Military Ruler Suggests Referendum on Immediate Power Transfer

Egypt's military ruler said on Tuesday that presidential elections will be held by end of June 2012, and that a referendum on the immediate transfer of power would be organized if necessary.

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who took power when Hosni Mubarak was ousted, said in a televised address that he had accepted the cabinet's resignation, a week before crucial legislative polls which he said would be held on schedule.

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Juppe: No Plans for Syria Intervention, Opposition Prefers Peaceful Efforts

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Monday that there is no plan for military intervention in Syria because the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad's regime wants to proceed peacefully.

"The situation in Syria is different (from Libya). We have no intention of military intervention because the (opposition) Syrian National Council prefers to continue with peaceful efforts," Juppe told a press conference in Kuwait.

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Security Officials Says Yemen Gunmen Kidnap Two Foreigners

Gunmen kidnapped two foreigners, including a Frenchwoman, and their Yemeni driver from a Red Cross vehicle in the southern province of Lahij on Tuesday, government and security officials said.

"A French woman of Moroccan origin was kidnapped along with another foreigner and their Yemeni driver in the town of Msaimeer," around 70 kilometers (40 miles) from Huta, the capital of Lahij, a security official said.

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Jordan FM Says Syrian Defectors Illegally Entered Kingdom

Jordan's foreign minister has said dozens of Syrian army defectors have "illegally" entered the neighboring kingdom, but his assertions were denied by the government spokesman in comments published on Tuesday.

"Some Syrians, including former members of the armed forces, have entered Jordan illegally ... not through border posts," Nasser Judeh said in an interview with the state-run Jordan Television on Monday night.

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U.N. Yemen Envoy Says Parties Agree to Transition Plan

The U.N.'s Yemen envoy said on Tuesday a Gulf sponsored power-transfer deal aimed at ending months of political deadlock has been approved both by the opposition and by President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

"All the parties have agreed to implement the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative," Jamal Benomar told reporters in the capital Sanaa.

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Juppe: Arab States Should Not Fear Peoples' Aspirations

Arab regimes should not fear their peoples' aspirations for democracy and reform, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told a pro-democracy forum in Kuwait on Tuesday.

"A year after the start of the Arab Spring ... states gathering here should show they do not fear the aspirations of their peoples and civil society," Juppe told the opening session of the eighth Forum for the Future.

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13 Killed in Syria as U.N. Assembly Condemns Crackdown

A key U.N. General Assembly committee on Tuesday condemned the Syrian government's deadly crackdown on protests, stepping up international pressure on President Bashar al-Assad, as a rights group said 13 people were shot dead by regime forces.

A resolution passed by 122 votes to 13 with 41 abstentions at the U.N. General Assembly's human rights committee. Syria's U.N. envoy accused the European backers of the resolution -- Britain, France and Germany -- of "inciting civil war."

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Libya Will Not Hand over Gadhafi Son Seif to ICC

Libya will not hand over Moammar Gadhafi's most prominent son Seif al-Islam to the International Criminal Court for trial, interim justice minister Mohammed al-Allagui said on Tuesday.

His comments came as the court's chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo was in Tripoli for talks on jurisdiction in the case of Seif and Gadhafi's spymaster Abdullah al-Senussi, both of whom are wanted by the court on charges of crimes against humanity.

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