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Visiting Lebanese government leaders agreed with Syria's government Thursday to "define and draw" their common border. But Syria said the effort, long demanded by the international community, would not cover the disputed Shebaa Farms. That "cannot happen under occupation," Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem (above, l., with his Lebanese counterpart, Fawzi Saloukh) told a news briefing. Lebanon considers the farms its territory. But Israel regards them as part of the Golan Heights, which it took over in 1967.

Iraqi President Jalal Talibani will be released from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota Saturday following surgery on his heart, senior officials from his Kurdish political party said. He is expected to return home after a stop in Washington for consultations with US officials, they said. Talabani left Iraq Aug. 2 for what his office announced would be an operation on one of his knees.

Amid tight security, senior Nigerian officials formally transferred the 1,200-square-mile Bakassi Peninsula to neighboring Cameroon Thursday. The step ends a long-running territorial dispute that has led to sporadic clashes between the two countries. On appeal, the peninsula was awarded to Cameroon in 2002 by the International Court of Justice. It has a flourishing fishing industry and its offshore waters are thought to contain significant oil deposits.

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