|W O R L D||
Saturday, May 1, 1999
USA points at Pak role in
An ethnic Albanian woman from Kosovo and her two children sit in a military truck they boarded in Kukes, northern Albania, on Wednesday. AP/PTI
Sharifs ire against
Russia pushes peace plan
Cambodia joins ASEAN
Army coup in Comoros
Sharif hands over aid to Kosovars
Primakov on way out?
Laden financed bid to
WASHINGTON, April 30 (UNI) The Clinton Administration has identified Islamabads involvement in terrorism in the Indian part of Kashmir, saying "reports continued in 1998, of official Pakistani support to militant fighting in Kashmir."
The State Departments annual report, "Patterns of global terrorism, 1998," which was released here today, says that the "Pakistan Government acknowledges that it continues to provide moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmiri militants but denies allegations of other assistance."
"The Indian and Pakistani governments each claim that the intelligence service of the other country sponsors bombings on its territory."
"In the wake of the US missile strikes on terrorist training camps in Afghanistan," it points out, "several Pakistani-based Kashmiri militant group vowed revenge for casualties their groups suffered."
The report refers to a press conference held in Islamabad in November by former Harkat-ul-Ansar and current Harakat-ul-Mujahidin (HUM) leader Fazl-ur-Rehman Khahil in which he reportedly vowed to kill a hundred Americans for one Muslim.
The State Department document says that security problems persisted in India in 1998 because of the ongoing insurgency in Kashmir. The insurgents changed tactics from bombings to targeted killings, including the massacres of Kashmiri villagers.
In April the massacres spilled over to Udhampur district where 28 villagers died in two simultaneous attacks. Elsewhere in India, election-related violence at the beginning of 1998 claimed more than 150 lives. In an effort to disrupt a BJP rally on February 14, Islamic militants in Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) conducted a series of bombings that killed 50 and wounded more than 200.
Referring to Sikh terrorism, the report says it is sponsored by expatriate and Indian Sikh groups who want to carve out an independent Sikh state called "Khalistan". Active groups included the Babbar Khalsa, the International Sikh Federation, the Dal Khalsa and the BTF.
Their activities include attacks against Indian officials and facilities, other Sikhs and Hindus. They indulge in assassinations, bombings and kidnappings.
It, however, notes that attacks have dropped markedly since 1992, as Indian security forces have killed or captured numerous senior Sikh militant leaders and have conducted successful Army, paramilitary and police operations.
"Many low-intensity bombings that might be attributable to Sikh extremists now occur without claims of credit," it adds.
It says militant cells are active internationally and extremists gather funds from overseas Sikhs. Sikh expatriates have formed a variety of international organisations that lobby for the Sikh cause overseas. Most prominent are the World Sikh Organisation and the International Sikh Youth Federation.
BELGRADE, April 30 (AFP, Reuters) NATO blitzed Belgrade early today, leaving dead and injured, in one of the heaviest raids yet in the five-week-old bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.
But radio reports said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation missiles hit the civilian area as well as the headquarters of the Yugoslav Army General Staff and the federal police, destroying houses and injuring a man and his pregnant wife.
Radio Novosti said two civilians riding in a car which was stopped at a nearby crossroads and a policeman on traffic duty at the junction were killed in the attack on the Army HQ in the city centre.
A thick cloud of smoke billowed from the building and the smell of smoke was perceptible from the AFP office several hundred metres away.
The area was cordoned off by the police and teams of firemen and ambulances rushed to the scene but no fire was visible from the street.
The blast blew out the windscreen of a fire service vehicle which was driving past at the moment of the explosion, according to one of the firemen riding in it.
The fireman, who suffered minor head injuries, was taken away in an ambulance.
According to witnesses questioned at the scene, several other buildings in the same neighbourhood were hit and there were several casualties.
The government offices and those of the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry lie opposite the Army HQ.
Radio Novosti, quoting unofficial sources, said at least two NATO missiles fell on two groups of small houses about 3 km southeast of the city centre.
In one house, which was razed to the ground, Djordje Djuric (28) and his pregnant wife Dragna were dragged from under the ruins by neighbours and taken to hospital.
A second house, including the Zlanti Ovan Cafe, was obliterated, radio correspondent Vladimir Krasic said. Water mains were damaged, and water was running through the streets.
Nine powerful explosions rocked the centre of Belgrade between 2:23 and about 2:45 am (1.23 and 1.45 GMT).
Witnesses questioned by telephone spoke of explosions near a road bridge over the Belgrade-Nis motorway. The flyover links Kneza Milosa Street, one of the citys main thoroughfares, with the residential district of Dedinje.
Serbian state television (RTS) went off the air in the middle of a news bulletin as city residents heard explosions in nearby hills, close to a major TV transmitter.
Residents said the RTS news programme also went off on other television stations in the city when satellite transmissions were interrupted last night.
Meanwhile, Reverend Jesse Jackson, the US civil rights leader, arrived in Belgrade on a freelance mission to try to free three US soldiers and thus give a boost to efforts to resolve the current Yugoslav crisis.
Accompanied by other religious leaders, he arrived in the Yugoslav capital shortly after air raid sirens sounded yesterday.
BRUSSELS: An EU-led oil embargo on Yugoslavia which is designed to further isolate that country and undermine its military campaign in Kosovo came into force on Friday, an EU spokesman said.
The embargo, agreed last week by EU ambassadors and formalised on Monday by EU Foreign Ministers, is in place, the spokesman said.
The sanction forbids EU citizens and companies providing oil and oil-related services to Yugoslavia, with only two exceptions: supplies of oil for humanitarian needs in particular for refugees fleeing Kosovo and oil deliveries already on their way before the ban comes into effect.
LOS ANGELES: Inspired by a $250,000 donation from Paul Newman to assist Kosovo refugees and others in the Balkans, Bob Hope and his wife, Dolores, matched the contribution and urged others to do the same.
Like all Americans, Mr Bob and I are deeply saddened by the refugee crisis and want to help, Mrs Hope said in a statement yesterday, adding, I do hope that others follow Paul Newmans lead and donate whatever they can to the cause.
ISLAMABAD, April 30 (PTI) Embarrassed over the involvement of the ruling Muslim League parliamentarians in power-theft, the Pakistan Prime Minister Mr Nawaz Sharif, has apparently directed his ire against the Water and Power Minister, Mr Gohar Ayub Khan, for mishandling the issue and asked for a detailed report on the matter, according to media reports here.
Mr Gohar Ayub Khan had shocked the nation last week when he placed before the Senate a list of 49 parliamentarians, a majority of them being from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League, allegedly caught by the Army while stealing power.
I should be informed after a thorough inquiry and investigation from the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) on the basis of which the list was drawn, the Prime Minister directed Mr Gohar Ayub Khan.
Media reports also quoted an official as saying that Mr Sharif had expressed his reservations over the manner in which the Power Minister handled the issue and emphasised that an irregularity could not be described as theft.
But some senior officials felt that Mr Gohar Ayub Khan had done it deliberately to ensure support to his opposition to the Armys involvement in the power sector.
Earlier reports had said that some parliamentarians whose names figured in the list had complained to the Power Minister against the manner in which their names had been drawn in the controversy, but the minister had told them that he had simply placed the list before the house which had been prepared by WAPDA, currently long run by the army.
Mr Gohar Ayub Khan is reportedly opposed to the Armys involvement in WAPDA particularly after his own son-in-law was caught during the operation against the power theft.
MOSCOW, April 30 (AP) Russian leaders today continued their mediation to end the Yugoslav crisis and strongly assailed NATOs proposed naval blockade to stop oil deliveries to Yugoslavia.
Russias chief mediator Viktor Chernomyrdin was in Yugoslavia today for another round of talks with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov pushed for an end to NATO airstrikes in talks with Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy in Moscow.
Russias latest peace proposals envisage withdrawal of Yugoslav forces from Kosovo and the deployment of an international peace-keeping force in the province under United Nations control with a substantial Russian participation.
Mr Axworthy said NATO had not made a final decision on the proposed oil blockade. Even so, Mr Ivanov reiterated that Russia would not abide by such an embargo.
Gen Leonid Ivashov, the head of the Russian Defence Ministrys department for International Military Cooperation. He lashed out at US Defence Secretary William Cohen for what he described as the threat of military action against Russian ships.
HANOI, April 30 (Reuters) Cambodia finally joined the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) today in a ceremony hailed as a historic event for the regions 500 million people.
After two years of wrangling, Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Nambong and the other nine ASEAN Foreign Ministers signed a declaration formally inducting Phnom Penh.
ASEAN had postponed Cambodias admission following Prime Minister Hun Sens ouster of co-Premier Prince Norodom Ranariddh in a coup almost two years ago.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas speaking just before Cambodias entry at a gala ceremony in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, said the event would be a great day for Southeast Asia.
This fulfils one of the dreams of our founding fathers, to at last have all 10 southeast Asian nations under one roof, Alatas told reporters.
MORONI, April 30 (AFP) The Army has seized power in the Indian Ocean island nation of the Comoros, according to a military statement broadcast over national radio today.
The statement said that Army Chief of Staff Colonel Azali Hassounani led the coup last night.
The coup followed unsuccessful negotiations to reconcile the separatist island of Anjouan with the two other islands in the Archipelago.
Anjouan unilaterally declared its independence in August 1997.
Preliminary agreement had been reached last Friday on a deal which would give autonomy to each island. But Anjouans representatives did not sign, saying they must first consult their people.
TIRANA, April 30 (IANS) Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on a days visit to Albania, expressed solidarity with Kosovar Muslims who were forced to leave their homes by Serbian authorities in Yugoslavia.
Soon after his arrival in the Albanian capital, Sharif met Prime Minister Pamdeli Majko. Sharif visited a refugee camp at Piscina and expressed solidarity with the Kosovar Muslims. He handed over relief goods, which were brought in two C-130 planes, to the Albanian authorities. I have come to Tirana to express solidarity and support of the government and people of Pakistan to the people and government of Albania for the care and hospitality that they have extended to the unfortunate refugees from Kosovo, Sharif said in a statement.
The Kosovars are experiencing a tragedy of monumental proportion. The ruthless policies of Belgrade authorities and systematic expulsion of ethnic Kosovar Muslims has forced hundreds of thousands to leave their homes and take refuge in Albania, he noted.
He said the people of Pakistan were greatly shocked at the tragedy. I am here today in a gesture of solidarity with the Kosovar people and to convey them the sympathies and support of people and government of Pakistan, he added.
Pakistan, Sharif said,
has also taken initiatives at the Organisation of Islamic
Conference (OIC) to urge the UN and major powers to
forcefully address the Kosovo crisis. The international
community must help generously the Kosovar refugees, he
MOSCOW, April 30 (UNI) Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov may be on his way out.
Quoting highly placed sources, state-owned news agency Rio-Navosti said his likely successor could be the just-promoted First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Stapashin.
Mr Stapashin is seen to be a staunch Yeltsin loyalist.
The Novosti report said Mr Primakov might go around the middle of the next month. It is then that the Duma (the Lower House of Parliament) would be launching impeachment proceedings against the Head of the State.
DUBAI, April 30 (AFP) Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto today accused her successor Nawaz Sharif of plotting with Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden to overthrow her.
Bin Laden financed two years ago an operation to topple me in cooperation with the present Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistani intelligence services, she said in an interview with the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper.
Ramzi Yussef (implicated in the 1993 New York World Trade Centre bombing) tried to assassinate me on two occasions in 1993 to facilitate Nawaz Sharifs rise to power, she told the newspaper.
Yussef admitted to Pakistani investigators before his extradition to the USA that it was his duty to assassinate me, because I was a woman in charge of the government, she added.
Ms Bhutto is currently in Dubai to meet her lawyers and to discuss with them her appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the April 15 verdict of an anti-corruption court.
Asked about the Supreme Court verdict, she said: I want to go back to my country because I think the fact that I will be in prison will lead to a popular mobilisation in Pakistan.
The former Pakistani
Premier and her jailed husband, Asif Ali Zardari, were
sentenced to five years imprisonment and fined $
8.6 million by Lahore High Court on April 15 which found
them guilty of corrupt practices.
|Award for scribe exposing affair
WASHINGTON: Michael Ishikoff, the dogged reporter who discovered President Bill Clintons kinky affair with Monica Lewinsky and set off a chain of events that led to the Presidents impeachment trial, has won Newsweeks national magazine award. The award that came to the Newsweek scribe of Lewinsky-Clinton fame on Thursday has been described by the much-talked about Ishikoff as vindication for the magazines coverage of the steamy affair. PTI
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