BUSH-MIDEAST: President Bush says a key goal of his Middle East trip this week is to gain increased support for Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts from U.S. allies in the region. Mr. Bush says he will first meet with both Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about moving peace negotiations to achieve what he says is their shared hope for the future: "Two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security."
IRAN-US : Iran has attacked President Bush's planned trip to the Middle East and says it has no plans to normalize relations with the United States. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told a new conference today (Sunday) that Iran sees Mr. Bush's trip as interference in the countries of the region. Hosseini also said Iran has no immediate plans to restore ties with America. Iranian leaders have often said they would not establish ties with the United States unless Washington changes its behavior towards the Islamic Republic.
OPEC: O PEC's president says he expects crude oil prices to remain high for the first three months of this year before stabilizing. Chakib Khelil, who is also the Algerian oil minister, blamed the rising oil prices on tensions in Pakistan, increasing violence in oil-rich Nigeria and a decline in U.S. oil inventories. He said the world market has sufficient oil supplies for now and that no decision on increasing crude oil production will be taken before the next OPEC conference on February first in Vienna.
KENYA: Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki says he is ready to form a national unity government, but the opposition says it stands by its demands for him to resign. Mr. Kibaki said Saturday he would accept a unity government to end the violence that has plagued the nation since the disputed election on December 27th. However, opposition leader Raila Odinga said he will not negotiate with the government until the president steps down. He said the president is in office illegally.
Audio in Lao.