|Friday, April 7, 2000,
bid to relaunch Kashmir drive
for Pak detained
famine death toll 400
back in business as spacecraft docks
radicals for Wahids removal
|Moris gaffe on China
TOKYO, April 6 New Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori has vowed to gain trust in Asia by facing up to Japans wartime wrongs, but immediately appeared to slip up in a reference to China.
Pak bid to relaunch Kashmir drive
UNITED NATIONS, April 6 (PTI) Facing growing worldwide isolation over its stand on Kashmir and demands to stop cross-border terrorism, Pakistan is trying once again to launch a diplomatic campaign at the UN in a bid to malign India.
It took the first step yesterday in this direction when its new UN Ambassador Shamshad Ahmad met Security Council President Robert Fowler of Canada to brief him on the volatile situation in South Asia.
Later, the Pakistan Mission to the UN took an unusual step of issuing a press release giving Mr Ahmads version of the meeting, which alleged that Indias belligerence and continued repression in Jammu and Kashmir was responsible for the volatile situation.
The meeting came within hours of Home Minister L K Advani offering to hold talks with militants within the parameters of the Constitution and provided they laid down arms.
A source told PTI that Mr Ahmads present plan was to continue his meetings with ambassadors, especially future council presidents. Each member of the council holds the presidency for one month.
Diplomats said there was no question of the council taking up the issue or discussing the situation in the region.
A spokesperson for the
Canadian UN Mission confirmed the meeting and said Mr
Fowler would brief other members of the council on the
issue as desired by Mr Ahmad, but could not give any date
or time for it.
N-material for Pak detained
ALMATY (Kazakhstan), April 6 (AP) Scientists made a first check on nearly one tone of radioactive material found hidden in a truckload of scrap metal bound for Pakistan, the Interfax news agency reported.
Customs officials in Uzbekistan said they discovered 10 lead boxes on the truck last week that were emitting powerful radiation when the truck was halted at a remote border crossing with Turkmenistan. It was headed for Pakistan via Iran on a trip that began in Kazakhstan.
The discovery reinforced worries about smuggling of nuclear material from countries of the former soviet union to such countries as Iran, which the United States believes is trying to build a nuclear bomb, and Pakistan, which successfully tested a nuclear bomb in 1998.
To get a closer reading
of what sort of material is involved, authorities sent a
sample from the boxes to Kazakhstans National
Nuclear Centre at Semipalatinsk, a facility in eastern
Kazakhstan formerly used to test Soviet nuclear weapons,
Window on Pakistan
Indias rejection of the Pakistani offer of talks seems to have unnerved the military regime in Islamabad. The position India has taken is that without Pakistan shunning the path of cross-border terrorism, respecting the sanctity of the Line of Control and ending the hostile propaganda against New Delhi, any dialogue between the two countries is meaningless. These are the essential ingredients of such an exercise, India has declared. But Pakistan appears to be desperate the obvious result of US President Clintons cold-shouldering of Islamabad.
Pakistans desperation is reflected in a recent editorial in Dawn: Unfortunate is the first word which springs to mind after Indias knee-jerk rejection of Pakistans well-meant offer to hold talks. The Pakistan offer was conveyed to the Indian Ambassador in Islamabad by Foreign Secretary Inamul Haq. On Friday India spurned this offer, saying,... 'Indias position, in substance and nuance, remains unchanged.... This is obduracy pure and simple. Serious problems exist between the two countries, none more grave than the dispute over Kashmir, and if any headway is to be made in resolving them, the two countries must sit across the table and talk. This must be done without preconditions because if either side insists on these, the talks will never get underway. Belligerence and the adoption of hard positions come easily to Pakistan and India.The need is to inject some flexibility into a rigid situation, but India seems not to be interested....
To make India show flexibility in its position, the military establishment has unofficially put former Foreign Secretary Niaz Naik on the job. The news of Mr Naik airdashing to New Delhi the other day on a back channel diplomatic mission was broken by the leading Urdu daily Jang. But after that not much has appeared in the Pakistani press. Quite amazing. If the Jang report is authentic, Mr Naik, formerly an ambassador in New Delhi, has been assigned the task of impressing upon senior Indian leaders, including Prime Minister Vajpayee, that Pakistan is seriously interested in a thaw in the frozen relations between the two neighbours. Mr Naik is known for his expertise in secret discussions, euphemistically called Track II diplomacy. He demonstrated his dexterity during the Kargil crisis when he secretly flew into New Delhi and accomplished his task.
Mr Naik is one of the few thinkers in Pakistan who want the two regional powers to reduce their defence expenditure to the minimum needed. This is not possible without a climate of trust, which is painfully nowhere to be seen. If he succeeds in his mission of bringing India and Pakistan to the negotiating table again, this can be described as the first step towards creating an atmosphere of trust.
Coming from a family of civil servants, Mr Naik, a bachelor by choice, is one of the finest diplomats Pakistan has produced. He joined the Pakistan Foreign Service two years after the country came into being and remained involved in foreign policy implementation and formulation for 40 years. He is an indigenous product. Born in Sialkot, he received his education mostly in Lahore. In 1988, before General Zia chose for Pakistans ambassadorship in New Delhi he had worked for his country in various capacities in many world capitals.
Mr Naik is 74. Yet he does not lack energy to undertake any arduous task. If he scores pass marks in his current assignment, it would be easier for Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdus Sattar and his Indian counterpart Jaswant Singh expected to meet in Bogota (Colombia) today and Havana (Cuba) after five days to find a way out of the present impasse in Indo-Pak relations.
Ethiopia famine death toll 400
GODE (Ethiopia), April 6 (AFP) More than 400 persons, most of them children, died from famine during March in the south-eastern Gode region of Ethiopia, local authorities have said.
The figure, released yesterday, is the first official toll of the effects of a drought-related food shortage that is threatening the lives of 1.3 million people in the area, according to aid workers.
Sheikh Abdullahi, the official in charge of health in Gode, said in one district alone Denan 263 persons had died, including 191 children under five years old.
In Gode itself, located 1,200 km south-east of the Capital Addis Abeba, 203 persons died. Sixty per cent of the children were under five, he said.
Abdullahi was speaking after a meeting of the local authorities with Ethiopian Transport Minister Mahamoud Dirir, an EU humanitarian affairs representative, Peter Holdsworth, and local charities.
"Such a disaster has never happened in the history of this region," Abdullahi said.
Mir back in business as spacecraft docks
MOSCOW, April 6 (AP) Two Russian cosmonauts linked up with the Mir space station today in a mission to bring the aging craft back to life after it circled Earth unoccupied for eight months.
Sergei Zalyotin and Alexander Kaleri, who lifted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday, docked flawlessly with the space station on autopilot, officials at Mission Control said.
The ground crew, packed in the mission control room, burst into applause as the cosmonauts space capsule connected with Mir, relieved that there were no problems docking with the unmanned station.
The last crew to man the space station returned to Earth in August when the cash-strapped Russian space program decided to get rid of the 14-year-old orbiter.
But pace officials put off the stations destruction date indefinitely after the Amsterdam-based MirCorp agreed to pay $ 10-20 million to lease commercial rights to the station.
MirCorp has said it is considering various ventures aboard Mir, including opening it up for well-heeled tourists. Under the agreement, Mir remains Russian-owned and available for Russian scientific use.
The Russian government has expressed hope that Mir may survive at least until the international space station (ISS), in which Russia also has a role, starts operating.
MirCorp, which plans to invest up to $ 200 million in the station, said last month the cosmonauts would work to adapt Mir for tasks ranging from industrial production and scientific experiments to space tourism and advertising in orbit.
The efforts to prolong Mirs life worry the USA, which fears Russia is being distracted from its commitment to the $ 60 billion ISS. Moscow is already two years behind schedule on building the ISS living quarters.
Vladimir Putin has said the Mir project will not diminish
Russias support for the ISS, which is also backed
by the European Union and Japan. The Russian-built Zvezda
module for the ISS is scheduled to be launched in July.
Islamic radicals for Wahids removal
JAKARTA, April 6 (AP) In their biggest show of force so far, Muslim radicals today called for a holy war against the countrys Christians and demanded the removal of President Abdurrahman Wahid, saying he was protecting the enemies of Islam.
This president must be replaced. We will ask parliament to replace him, said Jafar Umar Thalib, a leader of the protest who met briefly with Mr Wahid at the presidential palace.
About 2,000 supporters stood in a nearby park during the meeting chanting Allahu Akbar.
They were part of a crowd of some 10,000 demonstrators who had earlier gathered at Jakartas main municipal stadium. Organisers urged the administration to take quick action to end the fighting in the Malukus, which has claimed over 2,000 lives in the past 15 months.
We are ready to sacrifice everything we have for the sake of Islam, said Thalib, the keynote speaker. If those killing Muslims in Maluku are not arrested and put on trial, then more bloodshed in Maluku is inevitable.
Mr Wahid, a moderate
Islamic leader, has condemned calls for a holy war, or
jihad, against the Christian minority. He has
repeatedly predicted that the violence would abate by
April and no new clashes have been reported this month.
Moris gaffe on China
TOKYO, April 6 (AFP) New Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori has vowed to gain trust in Asia by facing up to Japans wartime wrongs, but immediately appeared to slip up in a reference to China.
Mori used an old Japanese word for the country considered by many Chinese to be derogatory, as he discussed foreign affairs at his inaugural press meet as premier yesterday.
I was born in 1937, just like former Prime Minister Obuchi, when the Shina incident occurred, said Mori.
The use by right-wing Japanese politicians of the older word Shina to denote China, rather than the more common modern expression Chugoku, has in the past inflamed Chinese ire.
TUNIS, April 6 (Reuters) Former Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba, who led the countrys fight for independence, died this morning aged 97, an official statement said.
Mr Bourguiba ruled Tunisia for 30 years. Current President Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali replaced him in 1987 after declaring him unfit to rule due to senility.
gives Germany list of 3 lakh spies
killed in Africa
rape puts town on trial
extradite Paraguay assassins
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