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By David Alexander MANAMA (Reuters) - The United States has a proven and enduring commitment to Middle East security, backed by diplomatic engagement and a fierce array of warplanes, ships, tanks, artillery and 35,000 troops, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel told Gulf Arab leaders on Saturday. The U.S. defense secretary, speaking at a regional security forum, acknowledged Gulf leaders' concerns about the direction of U.S. policy in the Middle East, especially negotiations on Iran's nuclear program. But he said the U.S. emphasis on diplomacy should not be misinterpreted. "We know diplomacy cannot operate in a vacuum," Hagel said.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Wesley Matthews scored 24 points, LaMarcus Aldridge added 20 points and 15 rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Utah Jazz 130-98 Friday night for their 15th victory in 16 games.
Nusa Dua (Indonesia) (AFP) - Commerce ministers capped days of hard negotiations Saturday by approving a WTO agreement on international commerce they hailed as a "historic" boost for the trade body. The agreement falls far short of the World Trade Organization's lofty but elusive vision of tearing down global trade barriers through its frustrating, 12-year-old Doha Round of talks. But the accord reached on the Indonesian resort island of Bali nevertheless marks the first global agreement struck by the Geneva-based body since its 1995 founding. "For the first time in our history, the WTO has truly delivered," an exhausted but relieved WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo told a closing ceremony.