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Rival Palestinians agree to form national unity govt

Rival Palestinian leaders from the West Bank and Gaza Strip have decided to form a government of national unity within the "next five weeks", officials said early on Wednesday. The agreement, between members of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation and Hamas, was reached following talks in Gaza City which began on Tuesday evening, a member of the PLO who wished to remain anonymous told AFP. "There has also been progress on the holding of future elections and the composition of the PLO," said the Palestinian official without giving further details.

Serendipity aids Egypt in struggle to recover stolen heritage

By Stephen Kalin and Tom Perry CAIRO (Reuters) - When French Egyptologist Olivier Perdu saw a fragment of a pharaonic statue on display in a Brussels gallery last year, he assumed it was a twin of an ancient masterpiece he had examined in Egypt a quarter of a century earlier. The reality was an even more remarkable coincidence: the fragment was part of the very same artifact - a unique 6th century B.C. statue hewn from pale green stone - that Perdu had received special permission to study in Cairo in 1989.

U.S. to deliver Apache helicopters to Egypt, relaxing hold on aid

By Phil Stewart and Arshad Mohammed WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Tuesday it will deliver 10 Apache attack helicopters to Egypt, relaxing a partial suspension of aid imposed after Egypt's military ousted President Mohamed Mursi last year and cracked down violently on protesters. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel informed his Egyptian counterpart of the decision, which will help Egypt's counter-terrorism operations in the Sinai Peninsula, the Pentagon said.

US lifts freeze, will deliver Apache choppers to Egypt

The United States will lift a suspension on the delivery of Apache helicopters to Egypt after concluding Cairo has upheld its peace treaty with Israel, US officials said Tuesday. Despite concerns about Egypt's failure to embrace democratic reforms following the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, the US government will provide Cairo with 10 Apache aircraft, officials said. Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel informed Egyptian Defense Minister General Sedki Sobhy of President Barack Obama's decision in a phone call Tuesday, his spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.

US lifts freeze, will deliver Apache choppers to Egypt

The United States will lift a suspension on the delivery of Apache helicopters to Egypt after concluding Cairo has upheld its peace treaty with Israel, US officials said Tuesday. Despite concerns about Egypt's failure to embrace democratic reforms following the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, the US government will provide Cairo with 10 Apache aircraft, the Pentagon said. Hagel informed Egyptian Defense Minister General Sedki Sobhy of President Barack Obama's decision in a phone call earlier Tuesday, spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.

France to unveil plan to fight Syrian jihadist threat

By John Irish and Marine Pennetier PARIS (Reuters) - France's interior minister on Tuesday unveiled a raft of policies to stop its citizens joining the Syrian civil war, aiming to prevent young French Muslims becoming radicalized and posing a threat to their home country. France, which has been a staunch opponent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, estimates the number of its nationals directly or indirectly involved in the Syrian conflict at about 700 of which a third are fighting against the government.

Bahrain sentences 12 people for life for spying, Iran links

MANAMA (Reuters) - A Bahraini court has sentenced 12 men to life in prison for spying, receiving training from Iran's Revolutionary Guard and processing weapons and explosives, a defense lawyer and rights activist said on Tuesday. Bahrain accuses Shi'ite power Iran of fuelling unrest in the country since a 2011 uprising led by the Shi'ite Muslim community demanding reforms and more share in running the kingdom ruled by the Sunni Muslim al-Khalifa dynasty.

Palestinians renew unity bid as Israel talks stall

The Palestinians met Tuesday to relaunch efforts to reconcile their rival leaderships in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as US-brokered peace talks with Israel teetered on the edge of collapse. A week before a nine-month target originally set for an Israeli-Palestinian deal, a Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) delegation arrived in Gaza City to try to revive long-stagnant unity efforts.

First PLO delegation since 2007 war arrives in Gaza for unity talks

By Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA (Reuters) - Palestine Liberation Organization delegates arrived in Gaza on Tuesday to discuss unity with militant group Hamas for the first time since their 2007 conflict, in a potential boost for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Few Palestinians expect a breakthrough in the deadlock that has paralyzed Palestinian politics, and many have low expectations of any resolution to the seemingly endless duel.

First PLO delegation since 2007 war heads to Gaza for Palestinian unity talks

By Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA (Reuters) - The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) sent a delegation to Gaza on Tuesday to negotiate unity with militant group Hamas for the first time since their 2007 conflict, potentially boosting Fatah leader and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's position. Few Palestinians expect a breakthrough in the deadlock that has paralyzed Palestinian politics, and many have low expectations of any resolution to the seemingly endless duel.
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