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El-Baradei Says Willing to Drop Presidential Bid for PM Post

Leading Egyptian political figure Mohammed el-Baradei said on Saturday he was prepared to forgo a presidential bid if asked by the country's military rulers to be interim prime minister, his office said.

El-Baradei, who met earlier with the head of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, said he was "ready to renounce the idea of being a candidate in the presidential election if officially asked to form a cabinet."

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Arab League Draws Up Sanctions against Syria

Arab finance ministers gathered in Cairo on Saturday drew up a list of economic sanctions against Syria that they will present to foreign ministers for adoption, a communique said.

The recommendation -- which includes a ban on Syrian officials visiting any Arab country and the freezing of government assets -- comes after President Bashar Assad's regime defied an ultimatum to allow in observers amid a lethal crackdown on protest.

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Israel Threatens to Cut Off Power, Water to Gaza

Israel warned on Saturday that it would cut the supply of water and electricity to the Gaza Strip if rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas form a unity government.

"The foreign ministry is examining the possibility of Israel pulling out of the Gaza Strip in terms of infrastructure," Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told the daily Yediot Aharonot website.

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Syria Accuses Arab League of 'Internationalizing' Crisis

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem accused the Arab League on Saturday of "internationalizing" the deadly crisis hitting the country since pro-democracy protests began more than eight months ago.

The accusation came in a letter addressed to the Arab League as ministers from the group gathered in Cairo to draw up sanctions against Syria to punish President Bashar Assad's regime for defying an ultimatum to allow in observers and pressing a deadly crackdown.

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Yemen to Hold Presidential Vote on Feb 21

Yemen is to hold a snap presidential election on February 21 in keeping with an accord which led to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's resignation, his deputy said in a decree published on Saturday.

Vice President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi, to whom Saleh has handed over power under the Gulf-mediated accord, signed the decree which brings forward the election that had initially been due to take place in 2013.

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Jordan Says Syrian Sanctions Must Respect Interests

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said on Saturday that any Arab League sanctions against Syria must be compatible with the interests of each member country.

"We support Arab unity in regards to the Syrian issue, but as I said during the Arab League ministerial meeting (on Thursday), the interests of our country must be taken into consideration," Judeh said in joint news conference with his Cypriot counterpart.

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Iraq President Says U.S. Troops Needed for Training

Iraqi forces need an American troop presence or at least U.S. training forces, President Jalal Talabani has said, according to a Saturday statement on the Iraqi presidency's website.

Regarding "internal security, I believe that the police and army forces are capable of maintaining security as it is now," Talabani said in an interview with Iraqiya television, according to the statement.

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Austria Supports Renewed Sanctions against Syria

Vienna is in favor of further sanctions against the regime of Syria's Bashar Assad, Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said in a radio interview Saturday.

"We cannot accept what Bashar Assad is doing to his countrymen at the moment -- shooting at protestors, hunting the opposition," Spindelegger told Oe1 radio, adding that "U.N.-led" sanctions should be reinforced and should target specific people.

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U.N. Says Syria Needs Food but Not Humanitarian Corridors

The United Nations said Friday that international help is needed to feed 1.5 million people in crisis-torn Syria, but humanitarian corridors were not yet justified.

U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said almost three million people out of Syria's population of about 20.5 million had been affected by the deadly crackdown on protests launched by President Bashar Assad since March.

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At Least 24 Killed in Syria Clashes

At least 24 civilians and members of the security forces were killed in attacks in Syria on Saturday as Arab League finance ministers met in Cairo to draw up economic sanctions against Damascus.

Deserters killed eight soldiers and members of the security forces and wounded 40 more in an attack in Idlib in northwest Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

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