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Spain Receives Libyan Ceasefire Proposal

Spain's government said Thursday it had received a message from Libyan Prime Minister al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi seeking a ceasefire.

Spain said it was standing with other European governments, however, in seeking a set of conditions for such an agreement.

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Abbas Slams Netanyahu’s Speech: Without Talks, Palestinians to Head to U.N.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday slammed a speech by Israel's prime minister and said the Palestinians would seek U.N. recognition if peace talks don't resume.

"Our first choice is negotiations, but if there is no progress before September we will go to the United Nations," Abbas said, criticizing a speech by Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu to the U.S. Congress on Tuesday.

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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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Sudan's Abyei Ablaze after Capture by Khartoum Forces

Sudan’s flashpoint town of Abyei was ablaze on Monday with gunmen looting properties after its capture by northern troops, the United Nations said, as Washington demanded Khartoum pull out its forces.

The U.N. Mission in Sudan, or UNMIS, warned Khartoum it was responsible for law and order amid reports thousands of civilians were fleeing southwards after northern Sudan Armed Forces troops and tanks overran the border town Saturday.

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Williams Meets Suleiman, Berri, Stresses Need to Form Government to Avoid Lost Opportunities

U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams stressed on Monday the need to form a new government as there are many problems in Lebanon that need to be addressed.

He said after holding talks with President Michel Suleiman: “There are many problems before Lebanon, problems of economy, problems of security and these problems are growing by the day.”

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UN, EU Appeal for Immediate Release of Estonians, Say Abduction a Threat to Lebanon’s Standing in the World

The Head of the Delegation of the European Union, Angelina Eichhorst, and U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams made a joint appeal on Monday for the immediate and urgent release of the seven Estonian tourists.

“We appeal for the immediate release of the seven abducted Estonian nationals. These bicyclists came to Lebanon as tourists, with no ill intent. No purpose whatsoever is served by their continued detention,” said Eichhorst and Williams.

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UNHCR: 1,400 Fled to Lebanon to Escape Syrian Unrest in Week

Some 1,400 Syrians, many of them women and children without belongings, crossed the border with Lebanon last week to join many more who have fled the unrest at home, the U.N. refugee agency said Friday.

"Most of the people who have crossed the border in recent weeks are women and children. In addition to their immediate need for food, shelter and medical help, they also need psycho-social support," UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic told reporters in Geneva.

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Syria Says Obama’s Speech Offered 'Nothing New'

A keynote speech by President Barack Obama on U.S. Middle East policy offered nothing new but simply reaffirmed Washington's staunch support for Israel, Syria's official SANA news agency said on Friday.

"The U.S. president's speech on the Middle East had nothing new as far as his country's policies on the peace process, the situation in Iraq or security or regional stability are concerned," the news agency said.

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Syria Slams U.S. Sanctions on Assad amid Calls for Friday Protests

Syria denounced Thursday U.S. sanctions imposed on President Bashar al-Assad and top aides, saying they were part of long-time efforts by Washington to impose its will in the region to Israel's benefit.

The Syrian Revolution 2011, a Facebook group spurring anti-regime protests, meanwhile called for fresh demonstrations on Friday for "liberty and national unity."

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U.N. Raises Libya Aid Appeal to $407.8 Million

The United Nations on Wednesday raised its aid funding appeal to $407.8 million from $310 million to help over two million people affected by the Libyan conflict.

The sum would extend aid to September 2011, and would help 1.6 million people within Libya, as well as 500,000 others who have fled the country.

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