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Tunisia (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Prime Minister Threatens Resignation if New Cabinet Not Accepted

See also Syria Live Coverage: Assad Changes His Ministers Amid Economic Crisis
Saturday's Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Overnight Clashes In and Beyond Cairo

1900 GMT: Mali. French and Malian troops fought running gun battles with Islamist insurgents in northern town of Gao today.

The French-Malian force took the town earlier this month, as insurgents --- who had moved in last April --- withdrew.

Gunfire broke out in the area of the central market and police station, hours after French and Malian forces reinforced a checkpoint that had been attacked for the second time in two days by a suicide bomber.

French helicopter gunships flew overhead.

"Islamists who have infiltrated the town are trying to attack our positions, but we're fighting back," a Malian army officer said. Another Malian soldier said one group of rebel infiltrators had come in on motorbikes.

1720 GMT: Jordan. Opening the new Parliamentary session, King Abdullah has called for electoral changes to make Parliament more representative, following a boycott of last month's poll.

Independents and candidates allied to Jordan's powerful tribal establishment won most of the seats, after the Islamic Action Front --- the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing in Jordan and the country's largest opposition party --- shunned the vote.

The King said, "The elections were held under a law that was not ideal....Therefore I call for revisiting this law and reviewing the electoral system in a way that wins consensus, promotes fair representation."

1427 GMT: Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) has called on authorities to release all political detainees.

The ACPRA statement comes a day after 37 women and 12 children were arrested in Riyadh and Buraidah as they demanded the release of detained family members (see Saturday's Live Coverage).

1327 GMT: Mali. A suicide bomber blew himself up late Saturday night, the second such attack in the northern city of Gao since Friday.

The bomber killed himself and injured a Malian soldier.

The explosion occurred in the same place as Friday morning's attack, which also injured a soldier. A column of French tanks stood guard at the spot Sunday morning, preventing journalists and spectators from getting close to the site.

Officials said two other would-be bombers were detained on Saturday.

1322 GMT: Tunisia. More on the resignation of President Moncef Marzouki's Congress for the Republic Party from the Government, withdrawing its three ministers....

"We have been saying for a week that if the foreign and justice ministers were not changed, we would withdraw from the government," party official Samir Ben Amor said. "This decision has nothing to do with the prime minister’s decision to form a government of technocrats."

1302 GMT: Tunisia. Reuters is reporting that the party of President Moncef Marzouki has withdrawn its three Ministers from the coalition Government.

1256 GMT: Tunisia. The Ministry of Interior has said one policeman was killed and 59 injured, while 375 people were arrested, in clashes following Wednesday's killing of opposition politician Chokri Belaid.

The Ministry did not give the number of civilians hurt in the violence.

1236 GMT: Palestine. Two days of "reconciliation" talks between Fatah, the leading political force in the West Bank, and Gaza's leading organisation Hamas have ended in Cairo.

"We agreed with Hamas to start consultations with the Palestinian factions about the formation of a government of technocrats led by [West Bank's Palestinian Authority] President [Mahmud] Abbas under terms of the Doha Agreement," Fatah delegation chief Azzam al-Ahmad told reporters, referring to an agreement between Hamas and Fatah nearly a year ago.

"There was agreement over most of the questions, except several points concerning the election law for the [Palestinian] National Council," he said.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization's Wassel Abu Yussef said there was disagreement over the timing of the establishment of a caretaker Cabinet preparing for new elections, as well as the announcement of a date for such a poll.

Maher al-Taher, head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine delegation, agreed there would need to be more talks to iron out differences of opinionL "The atmosphere was positive but we need another meeting to sort out some interpretations and differences in point of view."

1136 GMT: Egypt. Anti-Muslim Brotherhood protesters have blocked the entrance to the Mogamma, the country's largest administrative building, in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

The protesters, sayingt they want to end the "Brotherhood's rule and push forward the goals of the revolution", erected barriers and barbed wire on Sunday morning.

The building officially opens at 8 a.m., but is still closed.

1029 GMT: Israel and Palestine. Former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has declared that West Jerusalem has no chance of signing a permanent peace accord with Palestinians and should instead seek a long-term interim deal.

Lieberman, who stepped down from his post after facing criminal charges but who is still the most prominent coalition partner of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said in a television interview that a settlement was not possible amid changes in the Middle East since 2011:

Anyone who thinks that in the center of this socio-diplomatic ocean, this tsunami which is jarring the Arab world, it is possible to arrive at the magic solution of a comprehensive peace with the Palestinians does not understand.

This is impossible. It is not possible to solve the conflict here. The conflict can be managed and it is important to manage the conflict ... to negotiate on a long-term interim agreement.

1019 GMT: Bahrain. Reem Khalifa of the Associated Press previews today's "national dialogue" discussions:

After nearly two years of nonstop unrest, opposing factions in Bahrain are set to open talks....

But mistrust runs so deep on all sides that even the prelude to Sunday's planned start of negotiations has been a study in the kingdom's divisions and suspicions, and suggests a difficult route toward any possible accords.

The country's Sunni rulers --- supported by the West and other Gulf allies --- seek to bring the main Shiite factions back into the political fold in hopes of starting a gradual reconciliation....

Envoys from the Shiite groups, however, remain wary of opening a process that they believe has no chance of reaching their goals: forcing the ruling monarchy to give up its monopoly on power and allow an elected government that would certainly include the majority Shiites.

Meanwhile, hard-line Shiite protesters demand nothing short of toppling the two-century-old dynasty. Such a showdown would likely prompt another round of military action from neighbors such Saudi Arabia, which sent in troops to aid Bahrain's Sunni leaders after the uprising began in February 2011.

0749 GMT: Kuwait. Courtney C. Radsch follows up last Sunday's 5-year imprisonment of an activist for "insulting the Emir" on Twitter, posting a list of Kuwaitis put behind bars in the last two years for their comments on social media.

0739 GMT: Tunisia. Prime Minister Hamdi Jebali has threatened to resign unless his ruling Ennahda party and its coalition partners accept his proposals for an interim government of technocrats.

Jebali announced on Wednesday, hours after the assassination of the opposition leader Chokri Belaid, that he would change the government --- an accession to demands of protesters that the current administration was not dealing adequately with political, social, and economic issues --- but the Ennadha leadership blocked that move.

Jebali said on Saturday that he would present his new cabinet "by the middle of next week by the latest". If this is not accepted by the Constituent Assembly, he will resign.

Jebali's declaration came as thousands of Ennadha supporters rallied in Tunis. On Friday, more than 50,000 people --- many of them critical of the Government and Ennadha --- marched in the funeral procession of Belaid.

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