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Pakistan Hosts Conference to End Middle East Turmoil

By VOA News

Foreign ministers from seven Muslim countries meet in Pakistan Sunday to discuss the Palestinian crisis, as well as the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The foreign ministers of host Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are scheduled to attend the conference in Islamabad.

A Pakistani Foreign Office spokeswoman, Tasnim Aslam, says the aim of the conference is to lay the groundwork for a summit of Muslim leaders in the holy city of Mecca, hosted by Saudi King Abdullah. The date of the summit has not been finalized.

Iran and Syria will not be present at the conference but will be invited at a later stage.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf visited several Muslim countries in recent weeks in an effort to find acceptable solutions to the conflicts in the Middle East.

Israeli Forces Place Nablus Under Curfew, Palestinians Voice Condemnation By VOA News

Palestinian youths throw stones toward Israeli soldiers, not seen, during an Israeli army operation in the West Bank City of Nablus, 25 Feb 2007

Israeli forces have placed the West Bank city of Nablus under curfew as troops carry out house-to-house searches for Palestinian militants.

Witnesses say many Israeli military vehicles drove into Nablus this morning, blocking roads and surrounding several buildings, including hospitals. The Israeli operation is the largest since a raid in Ramallah in January.

Israel says two soldiers were slightly wounded in fighting with militants. Palestinian officials say at least three Nablus residents were wounded by Israeli-fired rubber bullets.

Israeli forces took over local radio stations in Nablus to broadcast the names of wanted militants. Israeli military officials say the operation also is aimed at finding stockpiles of explosives.

The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the raid and accused Israel of trying to sabotage efforts to extend a Gaza truce into the West Bank.

In other news, Jordan's King Abdullah has met with Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak today, on the first leg of a four-nation tour. The Jordanian king is to meet with President Bush later this week.

On Saturday, in an interview with Israeli television, the King urged the Palestinian government to accept conditions set down by the international Quartet, grouping the U.S., the European Union, Russia and the United Nations. The conditions include recognizing Israel, renouncing violence and accepting prior agreements with the Jewish state.

The power sharing deal between Fatah and the ruling Hamas group does not require Hamas to meet those conditions. Hamas has refused to meet the conditions.

The King said time is running out for the Palestinians to reach a peace agreement with Israel.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

... Payvand News - 2/25/07 ... --

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