|W O R L D||
Saturday, March 13, 1999
|US House for sending troops
Russia, Greece mediate on Kosovo:
WASHINGTON, March 12 The House of Representatives has backed the deployment of US troops on a peacekeeping mission to Kosovo after a day-long debate the Clinton Administration feared might upset fragile peace efforts.
USA stood for free Tibet
WASHINGTON, March 12 The Clinton Administration has expressed concern over the alleged religious repression in Tibet amid new disclosures that USA dumped the Himalayan region to embrace China as an ally against former Soviet Union after promising independence.
VALKENBURG, NETHERLANDS: South African President Nelson Mandela and Dutch Queen Beatrix at the Valkenburg Marine Airbase on Thursday. Mandela arrived Thursday for a two-day offical visit to the Netherlands on the first leg of his European trip. AP/PTI
|Accord reached on autonomy vote
UNITED NATIONS, March 12 Indonesia and Portugal have reached on agreement on a direct ballot on a draft autonomy package for East Timor, seen as paving the way towards independence, UN chief Kofi Annan announced.
not to be called as witness
denies dragging feet
Russia, Greece mediate on Kosovo
WASHINGTON, March 12 (Reuters) The House of Representatives has backed the deployment of US troops on a peacekeeping mission to Kosovo after a day-long debate the Clinton Administration feared might upset fragile peace efforts.
On a 219-191 vote, the House approved a non-binding resolution authorising President Bill Clinton to carry out plans to send 4,000 troops to the Balkan province as part of a 28,000-strong NATO force that would implement any peace deal.
The Clinton Administration and many Democrats had objected to even debating the issue, fearing that it might result in a vote against sending troops that would signal to both parties in the conflict a weakening of the US resolve.
But House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who scheduled the debate yesterday, said it was his duty as speaker to ensure that all have opportunity to openly debate the issue before US Troops are sent into a potentially dangerous situation.
Mr Clinton, in a statement issued by the White House, said he was pleased by the vote and said it demonstrates the broad bipartisan support for our efforts to bring peace to Kosovo.
The vote confirms the strong commitment of the USA to continue our efforts to provide the leadership necessary to bring about a peaceful resolution to this conflict, Mr Clinton said.
The House amended the resolution to call on Mr Clinton to report to Congress on a variety of issues related to the deployment, including details on the rules of engagement for peacekeeping forces and an eventual exit strategy.
The non-binding amendment approved by the House also limited the US troop numbers to 15 per cent of the forces deployed by NATO.
Fortyfour Republicans voted in favour of the resolution, which carries no force of law, with 18 Democrats crossing party lines to vote against it.
The House earlier rejected, 237-178, an amendment from Florida Republican Representative Tillie Fowler that would have expressed opposition to the deployment of the US troops in the NATO force in Kosovo.
Supporters of authorising the troop deployment said the US military involvement was essential to enforce any peace deal reached between Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevics Serb government and ethnic Albanians separatists in Kosovo.
But there were powerful arguments against the US involvement, with many Republicans saying the US forces were being stretched too thin around the world, that the mission would be too dangerous and that it had no exit strategy.
BELGRADE: Yugoslavias Orthodox Christian Friends have picked up the mediators baton hoping their warm ties with President Slobodan Milosevic will help secure a peace deal for Kosovo.
Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou arrived in Belgrade ahead of meetings with Mr Milosevic on Friday and his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov was due to arrive later.
Greece and Yugoslavia traditionally have very close relations so I hope we can be useful in this (peace) process, said Mr Papandreou. He spoke after meeting departing US envoy Richard Holbrooke, who failed to dent Mr Milosevics resistance.
After eight hours of talks with the Yugoslav leader, Mr Holbrooke reported that Milosevic still objected to NATO troops being stationed in Kosovo a key part of the deal which promises autonomy to the majority ethnic Albanian province.
In Kosovo, the Serb forces moved in strength towards a village held by separatist rebels and shelled the settlement, the latest in a series of assaults on guerrilla positions that have driven thousands from their homes in the last weeks.
Greece and Russia are
traditional allies of orthodox Serbs. But while Moscow
has influence over, Mr Milosevic, it opposes aspects of
western policy in the Balkans, like air-strike threats,
and the west fears Mr Ivanov may encourage Mr
USA stood for free Tibet
WASHINGTON, March 12 (PTI) The Clinton Administration has expressed concern over the alleged religious repression in Tibet amid new disclosures that USA dumped the Himalayan region to embrace China as an ally against former Soviet Union after promising independence and self-determination and recognition of the Dalai Lama as head of an autonomous nation.
The US Special Coordinator for Tibetan Affairs, Assistant Secretary of State Julia Taft, noted that reports of human rights abuses in Tibet remain common and majority Han Chinese who have moved into Tibet appear to benefit disproportionately from stepped up social spending there.
She also told the House International Relations Committee that it appear that all lines of communication between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese Government are now inactive.
She said she was also planning to visit India, Nepal and Bhutan to investigate charges of repression in Tibet. She will apply for a visa to go to China and Tibet, she said.
Sensational but authoritative disclosures that the USA during the Tibetan crisis was for Tibetan independence and self-determination marked a special meeting of the House committee convened by Chairman Benjamin Gilman to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Chinese aggression against the Tibetan uprising.
Mr John Kenneth Knaus, a former central intelligence officer who was in liaison with the Tibetans for seven year while testifying before the committee, said when India at one stage hesitated to give asylum to the Dalai Lama, the USA offered it anywhere in the western hemisphere, including the USA and to support and recognise the Dalai Lama as the head of an autonomous non-Communist country.
Mr Knaus said that some of the material has never been published but he proposed to do so next month in a book titled Orphans of the Cold War.
Mr Knaus said the USA reversed all its earlier positions and accepted Chinas stand that Tibet was a part of China after the Nixon-Kissinger visit.
Mr Knaus also revealed that when the Dalai Lama appealed to the UN against the Chinese, India undermined him by expressing confidence that an autonomy agreement could be negotiated with the Chinese.
UNI adds: The USA has urged China to engage in a substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama to defuse tension in Tibet.
Mr Julia Taft, in her
testimony before the congressional international
relations committee yesterday, said there exists a
real opportunity to overcome differences between the
Chinese and the Tibetans.
80 nations sign global warming pact
LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) Almost 80 nations have signed a pact to fight global warming ahead of a Monday deadline and seven of the nations most threatened by the effects of climate change have ratified it, a top UN official said yesterday.
But Russia, the worlds second leading producer of the harmful gases thought to cause climate change, has yet to sign the accord.
The biggest missing signatory is the Russian Federation, but we are holding out hope that they will sign before the deadline, UN Climate Chief Michael Zammit Cutajar said in an interview.
Hungary, Iceland, Croatia, and the Ukraine are also missing from the list of signatories, he said.
Countries have until March 15 to sign the UN Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty which would legally bind developed nations to limit their output of fossil fuel emissions and other harmful gases in the coming century.
The gases are thought to contribute to global warming, blamed by scientists for rising sea levels and increased famine, but some parties fear the carbon curbs would have a crippling effect on the world economy.
Under the UN plan, the treaty would go into effect only if countries accounting for 55 per cent of 1990 developed world emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) ratify the accord.
Accord reached on autonomy vote
UNITED NATIONS, March 12 (AFP) Indonesia and Portugal have reached on agreement on a direct ballot on a draft autonomy package for East Timor, seen as paving the way towards independence, UN chief Kofi Annan announced.
Mr Annan made the announcement at a news conference yesterday winding up two days of talks with the Portuguese and Indonesian Foreign Ministers on the future status of the former Portuguese colony.
On the means of consulting the East Timorese, which I know is of great interest to you, the meeting has reached an agreement that a method of direct ballot will be used to ask the people of East Timor whether they accept or reject the autonomy proposal he said.
He said specific details remained to be worked out. However, he said the next round of senior officials from both countries Foreign Ministers would be held here on April 13 and 14.
Indonesia says that if the autonomy proposals are rejected, then Jakarta would allow East Timor, which it annexed in 1976, to become independent.
Mahathir not to be called as witness
KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 (AFP) Lawyers for ousted Malaysian Deputy Premier Anwar Ibrahim today said they had scrapped plans to call Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad as a witness because he refused to provide an advance statement.
We want to call the Prime Minister but he said he was not willing to give a statement unless he knew the sort of questions we want to ask, chief counsel Raja Aziz Addruse told Justice Augustine Paul.
We subsequently sent him a list of questions but his Personal Secretary has indicated that he wont give a signed statement.
Mr Raja Aziz agreed with the Judge that witnesses were not obliged to make signed statements.
Since no statements are available, he wont be interviewed. We are not in a position to know what sort of evidence he will adduce, he said. We are not going to call him.
JOHANNESBURG March 12 (PTI) After the successful staging of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in September, Durban is gearing up to become the venue of another international event the Commonwealth Heads of State Conference to be held in November.
A South African Foreign Affairs spokesperson said though the Cabinet had not yet taken a final decision on Durban as the venue for the next conference, final approval is a mere formality.
He said Durbans
International Convention Centre (ICC) would be, in all
likelihood the venue of the next Commonwealth Summit to
be held during November 11-15, which would be attended by
Queen Elizabeth and 56 Heads of State.
Clinton denies dragging feet
ANTIGUA (Guatemala), March 12 (Reuters) US President Bill Clinton has rejected Republican accusations that the White House dragged its feet in probing allegations that China has stolen nuclear secrets from the USA.
We did not ignore evidence, quite the contrary, we acted on it, Mr Clinton told a news conference in Antigua, Guatemala, in his first public comment on the matter yesterday. I think the record is that we acted aggressively.
The President also
dismissed Republican calls for the resignation of his
National Security Adviser Sandy Berger saying the aide
had acted appropriately in pursuing the allegations that
China stole nuclear secrets from US national laboratories
in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Starr aide quits
WASHINGTON, March 12 (AFP) The spokesman for independent counsel Kenneth Starr resigned suddenly yesterday after an investigation into leaks to the media during the Monica Lewinsky affair.
Mr Charles G. Bakaly III has tendered his resignation, effective from June 1, 1999 Starrs office said in a statement. Judge Starr has accepted his resignation, with regret.
During the investigation that led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and his acquittal by the Senate, the White House accused Mr Starr and his aides of illegally leaking information to reporters.
Mr Starr began his internal investigation after a January 31 New York Times story that said he was considering indicting Mr Clinton on perjury and obstruction of justice charges before his term ends.
|Maoists burn alive eight rivals
KATHMANDU: Eight Communist activists were burn alive by ultra-Leftist Maoist guerrillas, while eight of the rebels were killed in police firing in a separate incident, officials have said. The eight members of the Nepal Communist Party-United Marxist and Leninist (NCP-UML) were killed in Rolpa district west of here on Thursday, the police said, adding three were seriously injured. The NCP-UML is part of the ruling coalition led by the Nepali Congress. AFP
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