Xinhua Middle East news summary at 2200 GMT, May 26

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TEHRAN -- Iran's Foreign Ministry on Sunday denied that Iran had started talks with the United States over the mutual differences.

"There are no direct or indirect talks between Iran and the United States," Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said. (Iran-U.S.-Negotiations)

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BAGHDAD -- Iraq said on Sunday that it opposes sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran and proposed to mediate if asked.

"We stand with our neighbor Iran and we affirm that the economic blockade is useless and causes great suffering to the Iranian people. Therefore, we stand against this blockade," said Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim at a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Jawad Zarif who is on an official visit to Iraq. (Iraq-Iran-Mediation)

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ALGIERS -- Up to 12 former senior Algerian politicians, who served for the government of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, will stand trial by the Supreme Court on corruption cases.

The list of the ex-officials to be tried included former prime ministers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal. (Algeria-Judicial Trial)

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ALGIERS -- The Algerian Constitutional Council on Sunday announced that it has received two candidate bids for the presidential elections scheduled for July 4, APS news agency reported.

The council said that it received the files of two applicants before the legal deadline set for Saturday midnight. (Algeria-Presidential Elections)

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KHARTOUM -- Sudan's Transitional Military Council (TMC) on Sunday said the negotiation with the major opposition forces on power transition was proceeding slowly.

"The negotiation is proceeding at a slow pace. If the situation continued so, it many lead to several choices that consider the interests of the Sudanese citizens and the security of Sudan," said TMC spokesman Shams-Eddin Kabashi. (Sudan-TMC-Power Transition)

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JERUSALEM -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that he is making a final effort to form a new government and refrain from another "unnecessary general elections."

Netanyahu has not yet succeeded in reaching an agreement among the right-wing parties to form a coalition. (Israel-Coalition Formation) Enditem

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