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05/23/06 World News: Israel's Olmert at White House for Talks with Bush


ISRAEL-US: White House officials say the president and the prime minister will discuss ways to keep the Middle East peace process moving forward. They are expected to focus on Mr. Olmert's plan to re-draw the Jewish state's borders, if the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians remains stalled. However, U.S. officials say the two leaders also will discuss their mutual concerns about Iran's nuclear program.

Mr. Olmert's visit to Washington comes at a time of growing tension between the Palestinians' Hamas-led government and supporters of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who leads the Fatah group. However, the Palestinians' prime minister, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, pledges there will be no civil war between opposing Palestinian factions. Mr. Haniyeg spoke out today in Gaza, where he is meeting with several groups in an attempt to defuse tensions.

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS: The prime minister
of the Hamas-led Palestinian government, Ismail Haniyeh, says peace will prevail if Israel pulls back to its 1967 borders -- a demand Israel has already rejected. In an interview published on Tuesday in Israel's Haaretz newspaper, Mr. Haniyeh said if Israel withdrew from all the captured land, his government would be prepared to maintain a long-term cease-fire with Israel. But he did not say whether Hamas is prepared to rewrite its charter that calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

AMNESTY RIGHTS REPORT: Amnesty International says in its annual human-rights report that the war on terror has diverted much of the world's energy and attention away from critical problems elsewhere. The London-based international rights group is criticizing what it calls "deception and failed promises" by powerful governments, including those in the United States, Britain and Europe. The London-based group's secretary general (Irene Khan), says the world's powerful and privileged nations have "paralyzed international institutions and squandered public resources in pursuit of narrow security interests..." Amnesty International says human rights also are at risk in Colombia, Afghanistan, Iran, Uzbekistan and North Korea.

AFGH AN-VIOLENCE: Afghan officials say Taleban guerillas have ambushed a police convoy in southern Afghanistan, killing three officers. Officials said the militants also suffered casualties during Tuesday ambush in Helmand province. In violence Kabul, a roadside bomb killed four healthcare workers employed by the Afghan Health Development Service. Police and aid officials said a doctor, a male and female nurse, and their driver were killed Monday as they were traveling in Wardak province, about 50 kilometers west of the capital. Insurgents linked to the Taleban have been blamed for a series of attacks on schools as well as health and development workers. More than 250 militants, Afghan forces, coalition soldiers and civilians have been killed in a storm of violence over the past week.

MONTENEGRO-REFERENDOM: Montenegro's state electoral commission says results of Sunday's referendum show a majority of Montenegrins have voted in favor of independence from Serbia. The head of the referendum commission, Frantisek Lipka, says complete results confirm that the pro-independence bloc won with 55-point-five percent of the vote. The percentage is just slightly more than the 55-percent required under agreements with the European Union for the referendum to be valid. Nearly 500-thousand voters were eligible to choose whether Montenegro will become Europe's newest independent state. Turnout exceeded 86 percent. The three-year-old Serbia and Montenegro union is the last remaining federation of the six republics that made up the former Yugoslavia. Most republics broke away during the Balkan war of the early 1990s.

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