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Sunday, August 8, 1999
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Al-Badr may target Clinton
ISLAMABAD, Aug 7 — A Pakistan-based militant group today threatened to target US President Bill Clinton if America launched an attack on Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden who is "still hiding" in Afghanistan.

India was party to US accord: Pak
ISLAMABAD, Aug 7 — Pakistan has claimed that India also was "party" to the Washington accord between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US President Bill Clinton which led to the withdrawal of Mujahideen from Kargil last month.

Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic (centre right) at a party with supporters in front of his office in Belgrade on Friday. The supporters are from a group of visitors, Yugoslavs living abroad, who came to Belgrade for a three-days conference to discuss national issues. — AP/PTI

Russia sends troops to crush rebellion
MOSCOW, Aug 7 — Russia is rushing its troops to Daghestan following an emergency call from the Chechen Republic to quell resurgent pan-Islamic Wahhabi forces trying to establish Islamic rule there.
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Armed UN police to patrol Kosovo
PRISTINA, Aug 7 — Armed international civilian police urgently needed to curb rampant murder, arson and looting in post-war Kosovo will begin patrolling this weekend, the interim UN Administration said.

Mass grave found in Bangladesh
DHAKA, Aug 7 — Construction workers in Bangladesh dug up the bones of at least 200 persons thought to have been killed during the 1971 war against Pakistan from an abandoned well behind a mosque in Dhaka, officials of the Liberation War Museum said yesterday.

Israel offers pact on final status
JERUSALEM, Aug 7 — Israeli negotiators told their Palestinian counterparts they hoped to reach agreement on the broad outlines of a permanent peace accord by February 2000, a senior aide to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said.

Carlos’ custody appeal rejected
PARIS, Aug 7 — A French court has blocked a bizarre appeal by convicted murderer “Carlos the Jackal” against the lifting of a detention order against him, his lawyer said .

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Al-Badr may target Clinton

ISLAMABAD, Aug 7 (PTI) — A Pakistan-based militant group today threatened to target US President Bill Clinton if America launched an attack on Saudi dissident Osama Bin Laden who is "still hiding" in Afghanistan.

The Al-Badr Mujahideen, which was one of the prominent militant groups active in the Kargil conflict recently, claimed in a written statement here today that its commander in-chief Safeer Ahmed met Bin Laden in the eastern Afghan town of Jalalabad amidst tight security yesterday.

The militant group in its statement, warned the USA against any attack on Bin Laden and threatened that, if forced, they would target President Bill Clinton in retaliation.

"Attack on Afghanistan will prove very costly for United States as we will not even hesitate to reach to the collars of Bill Clinton," the statement said.

The meeting between the Al-Badr chief and Bin Laden was earlier scheduled to be held at Khost. But in view of a possible missile attack by the USA it could not be held there.

The followers of Bin Laden are fully prepared to face any eventuality in case of an attack by USA and anti-aircraft guns and missiles are kept ready for any confrontation, the militant group said.

The USA had conveyed its concern to the leader of a pro-Taliban Pakistani Islamic party last week over his threat of retaliation if America attacked Afghanistan for sheltering Osama Bin Laden.

A diplomat from the US embassy called on Maulana Fazalur Rehman, head of the Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI), to discuss security concerns following statements made by him at rallies in different cities recently.

The Al-Badr group also said it was making contacts with tribals along the Afghan border to take on American commandos, reportedly in the area to launch an operation to nab Bin Laden. "They (commandos) will be buried there only".

Al-Badr Mujahideen was originally floated by hardline religious party Jamaat-e-Islami for waging a "jehad" (holy war) in Afghanistan but later parted ways with Jamaat. It was very active in Kargil recently.

A number of Pakistan-based militant groups have recently threatened retaliation in the wake of reports that the USA was planning to launch an attack to catch Bin Laden, wanted in connection with the bombings of American embassies in East Africa exactly one year ago.

The USA had launched a missile attack on alleged terrorist training camps of Bin Laden in Afghanistan on August 20 last year but the Saudi dissident escaped.Top

 

India was party to US accord: Pak

ISLAMABAD, Aug 7 (PTI) — Pakistan has claimed that India also was "party" to the Washington accord between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US President Bill Clinton which led to the withdrawal of Mujahideen from Kargil last month.

Information Minister Mushahid Hussain told the Arab News Network that the joint statement issued after the Sharif-Clinton meeting in Washington on July 4 followed consultations between the USA and Indian leaders.

"President Clinton picked up the phone late night on July 4 and talked with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in New Delhi," he claimed, adding that, "India is very much party to this joint statement".

He expressed confidence that in view of this, "international pressure would be intensified on India to resume dialogue with Pakistan after a new government took over in New Delhi."

Mr Sharif had rushed to Washington when the Kargil conflict was at its peak and signed the joint statement committing "concrete steps" for restoring the sanctity of the Line of Control in view of India’s stand that Pakistan-backed infiltrators had occupied areas in Kargil.

The minister said an urgent solution was needed to be found for the Kashmir problem. "This conflict can take nuclear dimensions which poses a serious threat not only to regional peace but to the entire world."

He tried to draw a parallel between Kashmir and the Palestinian movement, saying that in both cases Tel Aviv and New Delhi were compelled to hold talks for a settlement.

The Indian Government, which had earlier showed its willingness to normalise relations with Islamabad through the Lahore Declaration, had declined to resume dialogue with it unless the trust breached by Pakistan was fully restored. Top

 

Kargil briefing: Pak Oppn walks out

ISLAMABAD, Aug 7 (PTI) — Angry opposition members of the Pakistan Upper House walked out during an in-camera briefing on the Kargil conflict demanding that the government summon a joint session of Parliament to explain what forced Islamabad to "unilaterally withdraw" from the Indian territory.

The government’s move to satisfy opposition parties on Kargil with an in-camera briefing back-fired yesterday when the entire opposition led by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) walked out alleging that whatever they were told had already appeared in the press.

"This is a most shameless way of treating parliamentarians. The senate was humiliated as the briefing was a mere repetition of all stories that have already been carried in the press," leader of the opposition Aitzaz Ahsan of the PPP said.

Awami National Party (ANP) leader Bashir Matta said members were "totally unsatisfied" and, "the briefing was not worth the time .... We sat for a while but in the end walked out."

Mr Ahsan, a former Interior Minister demanded that the Prime Minister should call a joint sitting of Parliament and "tell the people why there was need to carry out the Kargil operation and why there was need for unilateral withdrawal."

He said: "Every single word used in the briefing has already been in the print media. We went well prepared into the briefing with countless press cuttings, but every word that was uttered today had already been stated by the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Information Minister, and the Director of Inter Service Public Relations."

"I still hope this government will take Parliament into confidence. I want to make it very clear that if we are not taken into confidence then neither senate nor the national Assembly have the right to exist. In that even the government which is an offspring of parliament also so cannot exist".

The PPP leader said they did not ask any question during the briefing but said they would raise, "pertinent questions" during the debate on the issue which begins from Monday.

Mr Matta also warned the government not to repeat the mistake of Kargil in Afghanistan amidst allegations by the anti-Taliban alliance that Pakistani troops were fighting along with the Taliban in the latest round of offensive.Top

 

No LoC conversion into border: Pak

ISLAMABAD, Aug 7 (PTI) — Pakistan has said the possibility of converting the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir into an international border did not arise.

"The question of recognising the LoC as the international border does not arise ... and it must be kept in mind that Kashmir is not a territorial dispute, but a question of self-determination of 13 million people of Kashmir," Foreign Minister Sartaz Aziz was quoted as saying by the dawn newspaper today.

Mr Aziz said "neither Pakistan nor the Kasmiris will accept the LoC as an international border."

The LoC was a "temporary demarcation" in a "disputed territory" which the Simla Agreement of 1972 called for respecting without prejudice to the stated positions of Pakistan and India, he said.

Under the July 4 agreement between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and US President Bill Clinton Pakistan had pledged to take "concrete steps" to "restore the sanctity of the LoC."

Mr Aziz, however, claimed that Pakistan had always respected the LoC and accused India of "violating it since 1972."

"India should respect the LoC by vacating Chorbatla, the Qamar sector and Siachen which it occupied in 1972, 1984 and 1988 respectively," the minister claimed. Top

 

Russia sends troops to crush rebellion

MOSCOW, Aug 7 (UNI) — Russia is rushing its troops to Daghestan following an emergency call from the Chechen Republic to quell resurgent pan-Islamic Wahhabi forces trying to establish Islamic rule there, the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian army Gen Anatoly Kvashnin, has said.

Besides ground troops, combat helicopters are also being rushed to crush the rebellion. The Saudi Inspired Wahhabis have meanwhile, in an Internet message, announced the setting up of an ‘Immamate’ (kingdom ruled by Imams) on the territory liberated by them.

The daily newspaper ‘Investia’ has also mentioned the use of missiles and large-scale bombing in the “war”, which has been stoutly refuted by the Russian army while reaffirming its pledge to plug all conduits through which militants receive arms supplies.

Earlier, an emergency meeting between President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin over the Separatists’ move in North Caucasia to declare an Islamic state of Daghestan confirmed Moscow’s fears of Islamic insurgency taking deep roots in the country, Voice of Russia said.

As if taking a cue from the Chechenyan declaration of its new name, the “Soverign Islamic State of Ichkeria, Daghestan,” an autonomous republic of the CIS, has formed an Islamic Shura (assembly) to lay down formalities of the proposed Muslim state.

According to the Nezavisimaya Gazeta, if extremists are not crushed immediately, the beginning of the disintegration would have been made. Imams rule the roost here and people have been following Wahhabism of the Saudi Abrabian brand.

Reports have also confirmed the infiltration of Wahhabis from neighbouring Ichkeria (Chechnya) with the aim of seizing power and then declaring a sovereign Islamic republic. Fights between infiltrators and local people have often been witnessed, says Novosti.

Meanwhile analysts have expressed fears of the disintegration of the entire Russian federation if the stemming of the present rot is not done at the earliest, with Islamic fever gripping several provinces of the federation.Top

 

Armed UN police to patrol Kosovo

PRISTINA, Aug 7 (Reuters) — Armed international civilian police urgently needed to curb rampant murder, arson and looting in post-war Kosovo will begin patrolling this weekend, the interim UN Administration said.

Kosovo has been plagued by armed violence, primarily by ethnic Albanians attacking Serbs to avenge wartime atrocities, in a vacuum left by the withdrawal of Yugoslav troops and the police.

At least 38,000 NATO peacekeeping troops have restored basic public order by day but lack the manpower or training to preserve it after dark, when much of the crime occurs.

Some 3,100 UN police with weapons and arrest powers were designated to restore civilian law enforcement but have been late arriving due to the summer holiday season abroad.

But UN Police Commissioner Sven Frederiksen said yesterday 200 of the 474 officers now in Kosovo had been briefed and were ready to begin joint patrols with Kfor peace troops in Pristina, the teeming provincial capital.

“We start deploying hopefully tomorrow, at the latest on Sunday. Two hundred of them have completed an “internal introduction course”. Priority number one is Pristina, where crime rates are very high,” he told a news conference.

“There are still too many cases of harassment of minorities, of capital crimes, and the only way to improve the situation is to be there, to have a 24-hour presence,” he added.

He said the UN force would have three divisions — 1,800 officers fighting common crime and regulating traffic, 205 securing borders and the rest maintaining public order and crowd control along the lines of France’s gendarmerie.

At least 120 international experts would from August 30 start training recruits for a Kosovo-wide local police force.

An ex-Serbian police academy is being refurbished for the training school, said Mr Steve Bennett, its Director hired by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, part of the international task force overseeing Kosovo’s reconstruction.

Mr Frederiksen said 26,050 application forms for jobs on the 3,000-strong local force had been distributed and 17,111 returned to date. At least 4,000 idle ex-fighters of the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) had applied.

He said the domestic police force would reflect Kosovo’s demographic makeup. Previously, about 10,000 Serbian security police ruled a 90 per cent Albanian majority province.

Ethnic Albanian and Serb police would be expected to work together in ethnically mixed areas, Mr Frederiksen said. But none would work unsupervised by UN police until they proved their professionalism and even-handedness over a period of time.

“They will have to treat every individual Kosovar equally. If they cannot do this, they are not worth it as police officers and they will be kicked out,’’ he said.

BELGRADE: Serbia’s Interior Minister has warned the country’s opposition and its supporters that he might order the use of force if they threatened to destabilise the state, Belgrade newspapers reported.

Addressing police officers in the southern district of Raska bordering Kosovo province, Mr Vlajko Stojiljkovic was quoted on Friday as saying: “The police will act in keeping with the constitution and law and take measures to protect all citizens and property, as well as their right to a free and safe life and work”.

He was apparently referring to Serbian Opposition-organised rallies across the country demanding the resignation of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and democratic changes in Serbia.Top

 

Mass grave found in Bangladesh

DHAKA, Aug 7 (DPA) — Construction workers in Bangladesh dug up the bones of at least 200 persons thought to have been killed during the 1971 war against Pakistan from an abandoned well behind a mosque in Dhaka, officials of the Liberation War Museum said yesterday.

Museum Director Akku Chowdhury said the remains, including skulls, belonged to young men and women who were victims of a genocidal campaign by the Pakistani army and their local militant Muslim collaborators against the majority ethnic Bengalis fighting for independence from Islamabad’s rule.

The police said the mass grave was accidentally discovered on Thursday as construction workers were digging up the ground for building an extension of the 32-year-old Noori Mosque in the capital city’s northern Mirpur working class district.

Mr Chowdhury said the bodies of about 500 civilians were dumped into the well and an adjacent ditch after they were killed by a radical Islamic hit squad “Seven Star’’ supporting the Pakistani soldiers in their campaign against the secessionist Bengalis.

Residents said the victims were brought blindfolded to the mosque and their heads severed by the group.

There was a rush at the well site today of people who were still looking for their missing relatives since the end of the war on December 16, 1971, creating emotional scenes, the police said.

Mr Chowdhury said the newly discovered well was one of many such mass graves where bodies of civilian Bengalis were dumped after they were slain by the Pakistani soldiers and their local collaborators.Top

 

Israel offers pact on final status

JERUSALEM, Aug 7 (AP) — Israeli negotiators told their Palestinian counterparts they hoped to reach agreement on the broad outlines of a permanent peace accord by February 2000, a senior aide to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said.

Once such an outline, or declaration of principles, was completed, Israel would carry out the last phase of the long overdue interim Wye river land-for-security agreement, said Mr Tayeb Abdel Rahim, providing the most detailed description yet of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s proposal.

In a statement issued after a weekly session, the Palestinian Cabinet flatly rejected Mr Barak’s plan to enter into final status talks, insisting that the agreement be implemented immediately and take no longer than three weeks to complete.

“There is no room for entering final status negotiations before the complete and accurate implementation of the interim agreements,” including the Wye accord, the statement read.

Negotiations have been deadlocked over Israel’s reluctance to implement all of the Wye river agreement under which Israel has to withdraw from 13.1 per cent of the West Bank in three stages.

Mr Barak’s predecessor, Mr Benjamin Netanyahu, withdrew from 2 per cent in the first stage, but then suspended the process amid allegations that the Palestinians were not meeting their security obligations.

Mr Barak has proposed to carry out phase two — a withdrawal from 5 per cent — in October and a small part of phase three on November 15, Mr Abdel Rahim said.Top

 

Carlos’ custody appeal rejected

PARIS, Aug 7 (Reuters) — A French court has blocked a bizarre appeal by convicted murderer “Carlos the Jackal” against the lifting of a detention order against him, his lawyer said .

In a complex legal twist, the move may facilitate the guerrilla’s eventual extradition from France to face trial abroad, lawyers said yesterday.

Carlos had appealed against a decision earlier this month by a French Magistrate to lift a detention order on him while investigations continued into four bomb attacks in France in the early 1980s.

Under French law a suspect held under a detention order in connection with a criminal investigation cannot be extradited, but a convicted criminal serving his sentence can be.

The magistrate’s ruling therefore cleared one of the legal barriers to any future extradition and the court upheld the decision yesterday, dismissing Carlos’ appeal which was the first of its kind from a suspect wanting a detention order to remain in place.

“The prosecutor said that my client has no grievances so his request was inadmissible,’’ Carlos’ lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre told Reuters.

The case had nothing to do with the life sentence for multiple murder that Carlos, whose real name is Illich Ramirez Sanchez, is currently serving. He remains in prison regardless of the status of the detention order.

Carlos’ legal team has often said that France wanted to get rid of him and was eager to bury other cases against him for fear that they might cause diplomatic embarrassment.Top

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Global Monitor
  Indian killed for drug smuggling
RIYADH: An Indian man was beheaded on Friday in Saudi Arabia for smuggling heroin, the Interior Ministry said. Biran Koti Kostri was executed in the western port city of Jiddah. The ministry did not say when he was arrested or specify the amount of drugs involved. —AP

Death sentence
APIA: A son of a Samoan Cabinet minister, Eletise Leafa Vitale (34), pleaded guilty to the assassination of the country’s Public Works Minister Luagalau Levaula Kamu and was sentenced to death on Friday. His father, Leafa Vitale, minister of Women’s Affairs until being sacked on Tuesday, and former Communications Minister Toi Aukuso have also been charged with the murder. Kamu was killed on July 18.—AFP

Greek singer dead
ATHENS: Rita Sakellariou (64), the larger-than-life Greek singer who rose from desperate poverty and helped give Socialist Premier Andreas Papandreou his popular appeal, has died at an Athens hospital on Friday. The late Socialist leader Andreas Papandreou, who became Premier in 1981 after years of political turmoil in Greece, boasted his admiration for Sakellariou and danced at her performances. —AP

Royal spying
LONDON: Britain’s Prince Andrew may be called to testify in a court battle between a California tycoon and his wife, with whom the Prince was videotaped having a candlelit dinner, British newspapers said on Saturday. Melissa Lincoln (40), is suing her estranged husband for invasion of privacy after he secretly videotaped her dinner with the man who is fourth in line to the British throne.—Reuters

Internet laws
LITTLE ROCK (Arkansas): The White House is to set up an inter-agency team to evaluate whether present legislation is sufficient to regulate illegal activities on the Internet. The team, under the jurisdiction of Attorney-General Janet Reno, will scrutinise whether present laws are adequate for tackling fraud, child pornography, the illegal sale of arms, explosives, drugs and prescription medicines over the web, White House said in a statement on Friday. —AFP

Blast in hotel
GRAPEVINE (Texas): An explosion, apparently caused by gas, injured a large number of people at a Texas hotel on Friday, hotel officials and the police said. Six persons were taken to the hospital but did not have life-threatening injuries while dozens of others, some of them children, were treated at the scene at the Embassy Suites hotel in Grapevine, Texas, the authorities said. —Reuters

Cocaine in mail
NEW YORK: Wife of the top US official heading anti-drug efforts in Colombia has been charged with using the postal service at the US Embassy in Bogota to mail cocaine to the USA, a senior official has said. The woman, Laurie Anne Hiett, surrendered to the US authorities in New York on Thursday, Lee Dunst, Assistant Prosecutor for the Federal Court in Brooklyn, New York said on Friday. She was released on 150,000 bail. —AFP

Oldest goldfish dead
LONDON: The world’s oldest known goldfish living in captivity has died at its home in Thirsk, northern England, aged at least 43, reported much of the British Press on Saturday. Tish, the goldfish, began life as a “roll-a-penny” prize won by seven-year-old Peter Hand at a fairground, back in 1956, the Daily Telegraph newspaper said. —AFP
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