Iraq's government scored two new diplomatic victories Thursday as neighboring Kuwait named its first ambassador to Baghdad since the 1991 Gulf War. In the other, the Sunni leader of Lebanon's parliament, Saad Hariri, visited Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to discuss improved relations between Iraq and its Arab neighbors. Analysts saw significance in Hariri's visit since he is close to the royal family of Saudi Arabia, which so far has been cool toward Maliki.
Hopes for an early resolution of the deep political division in Zimbabwe hit a major snag Thursday. After week-long mediation efforts by the African Union, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai refused to sign a memorandum of understanding with President Robert Mugabe's government, saying "our demands have not been met." The memorandum would have set negotiations in motion for a power-sharing government.