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Arab leaders appeared unenthusiastic Sunday at President Bush's address as he wound up his tour of the Middle East at a forum in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt. Bush won only scattered applause after urging them to allow dissent, modernize their economies, and "trust their people to chart their future." He also declared that Iran must not be permitted to develop nuclear weapons.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas reportedly has threatened to quit if "substantial" progress isn't achieved soon in peace talks with Israel. A spokeswoman for a senior Israeli attending the Sharm el-Sheik forum said Abbas set a six-month limit for moving the process forward. Abbas complained at the forum that Bush's speech barely mentioned Palestinian aspirations.

Gen. Than Shwe, the leader of Burma's military government, made his first reported visit to a relief center Sunday, two weeks after cyclone Nargis devastated coastal regions of the country. But despite the concerns of the World Health Organization and other international groups, state radio said there were no "incidents of any epidemic outbreaks" among survivors. A UN envoy was to tour one battered region Monday or Tuesday as part of an effort to plead for the acceptance of more international aid, and Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon announced plans to follow later this week.


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