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President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority backed off his threat to boycott further negotiations with Israel until the latter and Hamas arrive at a truce in the Gaza Strip. Abbas said Wednesday, "The peace process is a strategic choice, and we have the intention of resuming [it]." His suspension of talks earlier this week over the latest violence in Gaza complicated the mission of visiting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Deployment of thousands of troops along the border with Colombia is almost complete, Venezuelan generals said Wednesday as their government ratcheted up pressure over the military strike that killed a leftist rebel leader and 23 followers. Pressure also was being applied by Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, who demanded a crisis meeting of the Organization of American States and a condemnation of the Colombian attack. Above, a Venezuelan soldier holds up traffic at one border crossing.


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