With security conditions in Baghdad improving, Iraq's parliament will move to quarters outside the heavily guarded Green Zone Sept. 1, a senior member announced Tuesday. Since its election, the legislature has met in a heavily guarded former convention center inside the zone. Ultimately, the new quarters will be large enough for all 275 members and their staffs, Deputy Speaker Khalid al-Attiyah said.Skip to next paragraph
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Major banks in western Europe were refusing to comment on a published report that Iran's government has withdrawn $75 billion in deposits to prevent them from being blocked in the event of new UN sanctions over its nuclear program. The report appeared in an Iranian newspaper, which quoted an official in charge of economic affairs. Iran has yet to respond to the latest offer of incentives to halt its nuclear work. But the Foreign Ministry repeated its insistence Tuesday that suspending the enrichment of uranium is a "red line" that cannot be crossed.
Israel and Hamas have reached agreement on a new truce, to begin Thursday, the militant organization said. The same report was carried by Egypt's MENA news agency, although Israel's government said only that "a new reality" would take hold if attacks by Palestinian militants stopped. Egyptian diplomats have been trying to broker a cease-fire, although militants were vowing revenge for an Israeli airstrike Tuesday that killed six gunmen in the Gaza Strip.
Calling France "an independent ally – a free partner," President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a televised address Tuesday that it should increase its participation in NATO. But as part of a 15-year plan for the military, he reserved the right to choose whether to send troops to any operation being conducted by the alliance and said no French soldiers would remain under NATO command in peacetime. France abandoned NATO's command structure in 1966.