|W O R L D||
Friday, December 4, 1998
|Israel halts Wye pact execution
JERUSALEM, Dec 3 The Israeli Government reacted to a West Bank ambush yesterday by halting the latest West Asia peace accord until the Palestinians complied with a list of demands, including a promise to publicly abandon plans to declare a state in May.
Indonesian poll on June 7
JAKARTA, Dec 3 Indonesia will go to the polls on June 7 next year in the first elections since the fall of Suharto in May last.
RAMALLAH: An Israeli soldier is beaten on the head by a Palestinian after being dragged from an ambushed Israeli vehicle near the West Bank town of Ramallah on Wednesday. About 150 Palestinian students from nearby Bir Zeit University marched to the intersection following a demonstration to protest against Israel's refusal to release Palestinian prisoners, and began attacking Israeli cars. The Israeli soldier was pulled out, kicked and beaten with stones and fists, his weapons stolen, before escaping. AP/PTI
Neighbours promoting unrest in Afghanistan: Annan
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 3 Despite knowing that fighting in Afghanistan threatens their own security, neighbouring nations are still interfering in and exacerbating the conflict, the UN chief said in a report.
letter to UNSCOM chief
on Anwar lawyers office
research into disease sought
Israel halts Wye pact execution
JERUSALEM, Dec 3 (AP) The Israeli Government reacted to a West Bank ambush yesterday by halting the latest West Asia peace accord until the Palestinians complied with a list of demands, including a promise to publicly abandon plans to declare a state in May.
Palestinian officials rejected the demands outright and charged that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was looking for excuses to knock the peace process off track.
An Israeli Government statement said its decision was prompted in part by the attack on an Israeli soldier and a civilian by an angry Palestinian mob in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank earlier yesterday.
The attack followed the stabbing death earlier yesterday of an Arab street cleaner in Jerusalem, apparently by an Israeli extremist. During the funeral procession for Osama Natche, a 41-year-old father of six, mourners torched an Israeli car and stoned Israeli police who fired rubber bullets.
Hours later, rioting throughout traditionally Arab areas of Jerusalem continued, with masked Palestinians throwing stones at cars and blocking roads with burning tyres. Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben Ruby said five Palestinians were arrested for throwing stones that shattered a bus window and injured the driver.
The Israeli announcement that it was suspending further troop withdrawals from the West Bank came 10 days before US President Bill Clinton was to arrive in the region to usher in stage two of the Wye river land-for-security agreement he helped negotiate in October.
The announcement raised questions about whether the Clinton trip could take place while Israel was holding up the agreement.
Mr Netanyahu is trying to create a crisis before the arrival of President Clinton. We consider his conditions unacceptable. Every day he imposes new conditions, this is an attitude that must not continue, it will not be tolerated, said senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat.
The conditions also drew a sharp reaction from the USA. In Washington, US State Department spokesman James Rubin said the Israeli troop withdrawals were obligations which Israel must carry out. We do not think it is appropriate to add new conditions. He also condemned the attack on the Israeli soldier.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority blamed each other for the violence.
Mr Netanyahu yesterday issued a statement saying the Palestinian Authority was encouraging acts of violence, such as the attack in Ramallah, in an attempt to pressure Israel with regard to the matter of prisoners.
His senior adviser, Mr David Bar-Illan, said Israel would not allow the peace process to continue under threats of violence. The bottom line was that there would be no further withdrawals unless the Palestinian Authority lived up to all its commitments.
A statement from Mr Netanyahus office said the Palestinians must acknowledge that Israel had not agreed to release Palestinian prisoners who had committed acts against Israel.
Israel also demanded that the Palestinian Authority announce clearly that it was abandoning its intention to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state, that it was committed to continuous negotiations and that it immediately stop acts of violence and incitement and punish rioters.
In the Wye agreement, Israel promised to withdraw from 13 per cent of the West Bank and release 750 Palestinian prisoners by January. In a first stage last month, it withdrew from 2 per cent of the area and set free 250 prisoners, but most were criminals, not those held for anti-Israeli activities as the Palestinian Authority had expected.
Mr Arafat raised the issue earlier this week with Mr Clinton at meetings with Washington, and Erekat said Mr Clinton promised to make every effort to solve this issue.
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters): The UN General Assembly has called for self-determination for the Palestinian people, demanded Israels withdrawal from the Golan Heights captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East War and deplored the presence of a tiny number of embassies in Jerusalem.
These were among key elements of two resolutions on the situation in the Middle East and four on the question of Palestine. The two issues are debated separately each year by the assembly.
The resolutions, similar to those adopted in previous years, were again endorsed by overwhelming majorities on Wednesday.
The USA joined Israel in casting the only negative votes against five of the resolutions, while abstaining on the one concerning Jerusalem.
Indonesian poll on June 7
JAKARTA, Dec 3 (AFP) Indonesia will go to the polls on June 7 next year in the first elections since the fall of Suharto in May last, Parliament Speaker Harmoko said today.
The executive and the legislative (branches), after absorbing the aspirations of the people and adjusting it to the reform schedule, agreed that the holding of the general election will, God willing, be held on June 7, 1999, he said after meeting President B.J. Habibie at Parliament.
A new legislature would be convened on August 29, 1999.
The announcement was made after Habibie and several ministers, held closed-door talks at Parliament with Harmoko and his four deputies.
The first business of the Peoples Consultative Assembly (MPR) would be to swear in new legislative members with working committees deciding a time-table for election of the President and Vice-President, Harmoko said.
Indonesian state secretary Akbar Tanjung said today the government would not declare a state of emergency or martial law despite outbreaks of rioting, the Antara news agency said.
The government realised that any step taken to uphold order and security would promptly be seen as efforts to continue the ways of the (Suharto) authoritarian new order government, it said. He said the government would instead leave it to the public to make sure protests were not destructive.
Of course, this rather permissive policy also carries its own risks. Not only the possibility that the government will be accused of always being late in overcoming the conditions, but also the reality that is not easy for the leaders of society to control the actions of their people, the agency added.
Meanwhile, amid mounting pressure and student unrest for a probe into former President Suhartos wealth, the Indonesian Government promised today that it would be speeded up, adds ANI.
Suharto has been widely accused of corruption and human rights abuses besides amassing vast wealth running into $ 40 billion.
Parliament Speaker Harmoko told newsmen that the President and executive have agreed to carry out the MPR decrees more effectively especially in relation to the investigation into former President Suharto.
Indonesian newspapers earlier quoted an administration official as saying that there would be an important announcement concerning the possible trial of Suharto within two or three days.
In the meantime, tension surfaced again after miscreants burned down a mosque on the island of Borneo this morning.
Reports reaching the
capital from Noabang near the West Kalimantan provincial
capital of Pontianak said residents had stepped up
security around churches and mosques in the area fearing
possible rioting. Police also confirmed that they had
arrested a mentally deranged man suspected of being
behind the arson attack.
Army role confined to military courts
ISLAMABAD, Dec 3 (ANI) Pakistans Interior Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussein has said that the role of the army in Karachi would only be limited to the setting up of military courts.
Talking to mediapersons here, Mr Shujaat Hussien said: The army has been given only judicial powers and they are not being given powers to conduct raids as this job is satisfactorily being done by the police and the Rangers.
The minister said the military courts were being established to try cases related to terrorism, extortion and kidnapping for ransom. The army officials are currently finalising various details to set up military courts in Karachi.
Responding to a question, the minister said the army had been called in to Karachi under Article 245 of the constitution to aid the authorities. However,he added that the provincial government would be the deciding authority on how to use the armys services.
Mr Hussain said the Prime Minister wanted to avoid prolonged involvement of the army in civilian duties as it would affect their professional duties. We have instructed the Sindh Governor that cases related to usual murders committed on the basis of personal rivalry should not be referred to military courts, he said.
To another question the
interior minister said that as long as peace was not
achieved, there was no question of restoring the Sindh
Assembly. We have told everybody to forget about
restoration of the assembly unless certain peace is
achieved in Karachi.
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 3 (AP) Despite knowing that fighting in Afghanistan threatens their own security, neighbouring nations are still interfering in and exacerbating the conflict, the UN chief said in a report.
A ceasefire and the start of peace talks to create a multi-ethnic and representative government for Afghanistan could not be attained without a concerted effort by all outside powers concerned, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in the report to the General Assembly released yesterday.
Reports of mass killings and other human rights violations by the Taliban religious militia were of major concern, Mr Annan said. He said he planned to ask that a UN mission begin monitoring parts of Afghanistan to promote respect for humanitarian law and human rights.
Mr Annan didnt name specific nations contributing to the Afghan conflict, but the Taliban, who now control about 90 per cent of Afghanistan, accuse Iran, Russia and the Central Asian nations of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan of arming and financing their opponents.
The anti-Taliban alliance, which controls about 10 per cent of the country, says Pakistan is arming the Taliban and sending in military advisers and soldiers to bolster their ranks, a charge Pakistan denies.
While Mr Annan welcomed efforts by eight nations that were trying to work out a solution to the Afghan situation Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, China and the USA he said he was disappointed that some of those countries were still supplying weapons and other war material which were fuelling the conflict.
Afghanistan, once a flashpoint of superpower rivalry, had now become the stage for a new, regional version of the great game, in which the domestic, economic and national security interests of Afghanistans neighbours and their supporters were played out, the Secretary-General said.
A vicious cycle had developed in which the inability of the Afghan factions to agree to a political settlement was both the cause and the effect of persistent outside interference in the affairs of Afghanistan, he said.
While he recognised that countries had legitimate interests to protect in Afghanistan, Mr Annan said he found it paradoxical that instead of promoting peace these countries continued their clandestine military support for their favoured Afghan factions, despite their professed recognition that the prolongation of the conflict posed a threat to their own stability.
While the Taliban had scored military victories and taken control of most of the country, Mr Annan said their success on the battlefield appeared to have lessened the desire for a negotiated peace.
The Taliban victories had also increased the prospect of a deeper regionalisation of the conflict, Mr Annan said.
Fresh Iraqi letter to UNSCOM chief
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 3 (AFP) Iraq has submitted a new letter to the UNs top weapons inspector, refusing to surrender a key document detailing Iraqi chemical weapons munitions.
In the letter sent late on Tuesday to the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) Chairman, Mr Richard Butler, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary, Mr Riyadh Al-Qaysi, stated: Our position remains the same regarding the document.
Mr Butler wrote to the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Tariq Aziz on Friday to demand the surrender of the file by Monday.
PARIS: Meanwhile, Mr Butler has said that a report on Iraqi disarmament could be completed despite Baghdads refusal to hand over certain documents, diplomatic sources said.
Raid on Anwar lawyers office
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 (AFP) The Malaysian police raided the office of one of the lawyers defending ousted Deputy Premier Anwar Ibrahim, chief defence counsel Raja Aziz Addruse told the court today.
We wish to register strong protest against this type of measure taken against defence counsel. It is tantamount to harassment, Raja Aziz told Justice Augustine Paul.
The police raided the office of Pawancheek Merican, one of Anwars nine lawyers, last afternoon, Raja Aziz said.
According to a search
warrant, the raid was based on a complaint by the
prosecution that a certain note of evidence
written by Deputy Public Prosecutor Shamsul Sulaiman for
the trial was missing, he said.
Funding research into disease sought
WASHINGTON, Dec 3 (Reuters) Researchers who created controversy by growing human stem cells have asked Congress to allow federal funding of such work, saying it might provide a cure for Parkinsons disease within a few years.
However, they added yesterday, the breakthroughs may never be developed to their full potential if Congress decided that current laws forbid such funding.
The number of diseases that can be treated will increase exponentially (with federal funding), Dr James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin, who led one of the teams that has grown the stem cells, told a senate panel.
The current ban in
the USA on the use of federal funding for human embryo
research discourages the majority of the best US
researchers from advancing this promising area of medical
research, he said.
|Another N. Korean missile launch
WASHINGTON: North Korea is preparing for a second Taepo-Dong missile test launch, probably this month, a US official has said ahead of a new round of US-North Korean talks. I would tell you they will have another launch, said the official yesterday on condition of anonymity. Its something were watching. North Korea stunned the world on August 31 by firing a three-stage Taepo-Dong rocket over Japan in an apparently unsuccessful attempt to boost a small satellite into orbit. AFP
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