July 21, 2000,
Korea’s terms to give up missile plan
nations may go with India
heading for split?
rebels kill 6 Russian troops
among PoWs held by Masood men
term for 3 Pinochet men
Asians in British Foreign Office
hostages’ release scuttled
grounds planes in Malaysia
N. Korea’s terms to give up missile plan
MOSCOW, July 20 (Reuters) — Russia and North Korea pressed their opposition to Washington’s anti-missile defence plans in a strong statement today, saying US concerns about a possible threat from Pyongyang were "groundless’’.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was welcomed to Pyongyang yesterday by North Korean leader Kim Jong-II on the firstever visit there by a Russian leader.
The two, who apparently shared good rapport during extended talks, sought to undermine the US rationale for the missile shield when Mr Kim offered to abandon his country’s missile programme if other states supplied rockets to explore space.
The USA wants to set up a nationwide anti-missile shield, or National Missile Defence (NMD) because of a threat it sees from "rogue states’’ among which it considers North Korea. That would involve amending the 1972 US-Soviet Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.
A joint declaration, published by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency, dismissed the US argument.
"The DPRK and Russia consider that the results of the analysis of the present international realities prove the missile threat from some states cited as a pretext to justify their projected amendment of the ABM Treaty to be totally groundless,’’ the two leaders said in the declaration.
Mr Putin has proposed an alternative to NMD, providing for the interception of missiles at an early launch stage. But Washington has said this plan is technically flawed.
Today’s statement repeated North Korea’s assertions that its missile programme had no hostile intent.
Mr Putin, cheered by thousands when he left Pyongyang earlier today, invited the reclusive North Korean leader to visit Moscow.
championed sovereignty, territorial integrity and the right to act
outside international bodies in a thinly veiled reference to Western
criticism of Russia’s military campaign in Chechnya and of North
Korea’s human rights record.
LEADERS of seven major industrial nations plus Russia meet for their annual summit at Okinawa (July 21-23) where people have battled with the police demanding the pull out of US troops stationed on the Japanese island.
President Clinton’s visit will be the first by an American President to Okinawa where half of the 48000 troops in Japan are based. Resistance to the presence of US troops has been building up in recent years in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct by Marines despite the spin-offs of the base maintenance for the 1.3 million islanders. The summit runs the risks of hostile demonstrations and summer typhoons.
The heads of leading industrial nation, which account for 46 per cent of global output and 49 per cent of world trades as usual, will deliberate on a litany of issues, political and economic, but their ostensible efforts to set the agenda for the first 25 years of the new century may yield little results for the immediate future.
The key questions, of vital interest to the developing world, remain debt, development finance, greater access for exports of low-income countries and a strong commitment to reduce world poverty by half by 2015. It is here that the summit will make no difference to the generalities of earlier summit declarations.
On the political side, the demise of democracy in countries like Pakistan and Fiji, turbulence in Indonesia, turmoils in Africa and the elusive quest for a peace settlement in volatile West Asia will certainly command the attention of the G-8 leaders in their survey of the international scene. Countering international terrorism has been on their agenda for years together and this summit may endorse India’s move for a global convention against terrorism at the United Nations.
Over the past two years, G-7 countries have been voicing their concerns over tensions in South Asia in the wake of the nuclear tests and the missile race that India and Pakistan may embark upon. The Okinawa Summit is expected to call on the two countries to resume the dialogue "in the spirit of the Lahore Declaration". This will be coupled with another appeal to the two countries to join the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
The leaders will welcome the recent developments at normalisation of relations between North and South Koreas. The highly controversial national missile defence system (NMD) to which Russia and China, as well as some of the European nations, are opposed, may be discreetly excluded from the G-8 deliberations.
The leaders may well endorse the call for a global compact on reduction of poverty by 2015 given in the report jointly presented by the UN, the World Bank, the IMF and the OECD at the recent UN special session on social development. Far from reversing the steep fall in the ratio of official development assistance to GNP, however, richer countries have decided to focus available resources on countries which are seen to be effectively working on poverty reduction and which observe human rights.
The four-year old debt initiative, jointly sponsored by the IMF/World Bank, for the heavily indebted poorest countries has not really taken off because of strict eligibility terms set, notwithstanding the Cologne Summit (1999) of G-8 holding out the prospect of "broader, deeper and faster" debt relief.
The promised write-offs of
bilateral debts of these countries has not been implemented by the
major industrial nations. Development assistance has been declining
while new trade barriers are in place circumventing the obligations
under a multilateral trading system (WTO). Africa’s plight is
highlighted in an UNCTAD study on aid, stagnation, fall in commodity
prices plus negligible FDI flows. — IPA
also slaps sanctions
SUVA, July 20 (AP, PTI) — Fiji appeared to be heading in two directions at once today, with the prospect emerging of an outright split in the country where racial divisions have hardened since the May 19 nationalistic coup.
In the Capital, Suva, interim government officials met with coup leader George Speight over his demands for greater representation in a new Cabinet.
At the same time, members of the ousted Cabinet huddled in Ba, on the western side of Viti Levu island, to plot strategy with establishment of a separate government emerging among the possibilities.
References to South Africa’s old system of apartheid kept cropping up, with the USA joining in imposing sanctions as pressure for the restoration of democracy.
At least one diplomat, discussing the meeting in Ba involving ousted Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, likened it to activists remaining in South Africa to fight the white apartheid regime.
The American sanctions involve suspending defence aid and cooperation with Fiji worth an estimated $ 1 million.
The idea of forming a breakaway state in western Viti Levu was rejected by local tribal chiefs about six weeks ago.
Speight said there were not enough of his supporters in the 20-member lineup and objected to not having been consulted on its make-up despite a promise from President Ratu Josefa Iloilo that he would be included in negotiations.
SOROKOBA (Fiji): Deposed Fijian Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry said on Thursday that he had sought international help to restore his multi-racial coalition and spoke of options such as a government-in-exile.
"We are the legitimately-elected government and what we are seeking is our restoration,’’ Mr Chaudhry told Reuters in an interview after holding a meeting of his deposed Cabinet in this coastal town on the west coast of Fiji’s main island Viti Levu.
He said he had been in contact with the Commonwealth, Australia, New Zealand and the USA seeking help in restoring democracy to the racially-divided South Pacific nation.
NEW DELHI: Speight said on Thursday that the new administration in Suva would ask India for assistance on implementing political and economic policies in his country.
"We will be asking India for assistance in relation to how we implement such policies on behalf of the Fijians," the rebel leader told ‘Star News’.
Asked what sort of assistance
he wanted, Speight said, "We will be looking at economic
assistance, the promulgation of law and policies that promote ethnic
indigenous ones...Like it happens in India.’’
Chechen rebels kill 6 Russian troops
NAZRAN, July 20 (AP) – Six Russian servicemen were killed and 11 wounded in attacks by Chechen independence fighters, officials said today, in another spate of rebel attacks in nominally Russian-held territory.
The attacks occurred in the towns of Argun, Chiri-Yurt, Dzhalka, and Gekhi. All towns are in the territory captured months ago by Russian forces, and none are more than about 20 km from Grozny.
W. Asia talks resurrected
THURMONTH, July 20 (AFP) — In a stunning about turn, the us President, Mr Bill Clinton, said today that Israeli and Palestinian leaders would pursue talks at Camp David in his absence, after the White House announced the negotiations were dead.
Mr Clinton made the dramatic announcement less than two hours after his spokesman said it was all over, despite nine days of intensive discussions on the toughest issues, including Jerusalem, borders and refugees.
"The short answer as to why we are still here after everybody thought we were through is that nobody wanted to give up," a tired and hoarse Mr Clinton said.
"And I didn’t think we should give up, and so we are still plugging away," Mr Clinton said, before leaving to attend a summit of industrialised nations in Japan.
However, he cautioned: "There should be no illusions about the difficult task ahead, but there should be no limit to the effort we are prepared to make."
"These are, in fundamental ways, the hardest peace issues I have ever dealt with," he admitted. "We have been engaged in the most comprehensive and thorough negotiations ever between Palestinians and Israelis on the core issues" between them.
"The gaps remain substantial. But there has been progress and we must all be prepared to go the extra mile."
Mr Clinton left the Secretary of State, Ms Madeleine Albright, behind to "continue to try to close the gaps" before he returns to the USA on July 23 to "assess the status of the talks."
A us official said Ms Albright would resume the discussions tomorrow and that a news blackout would remain in force.
Barak’s spokesman said: "The Prime Minister will continue his efforts in trying to reach an agreement which will put an end to the conflict."
But an Israeli source warned that despite the resumption there had not been a breakthrough. "There is still a crisis but they will try to resolve it," he said, adding Jerusalem remained the major stumbling block.
"There is a possibility of reaching a framework agreement and that arrangements on Jerusalem will be put off to a later date," he added.
Hassan Abdel Rahman, Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) representative in Washington, confirmed that Arafat was staying on too.
Blaming Barak for the failure of the talks, Abdel Rahman said: "The man who bears responsibility for this failure is Barak who abandoned the basis of the peace process and international legitimacy."
Pakistanis among PoWs held by Masood men
WASHINGTON, July 20 (ANI) — The forces of Ahmad Shah Masood have about 1,000 prisoners of war (PoWs), some of them Pakistanis, kept in the Panjshir valley in northern Afghanistan.
Lucian Kim of Christian Science Monitor, who visited the prisoners’ camps recently, said: "A lot of prisoners were killed right on the frontline after the upsurge in fighting this month". He quotes Daoud Panjshiri, a lieutenant to Commander Masood who oversees two PoW camps in the Panjshir valley, as saying, "We could not control our soldiers. They had lost their houses and women".
The report says the Taliban may have much less prisoners, approximately 400. Lucian writes that more precise estimates are difficult to make, as PoWs are often sold back at the front or simply executed.
"In Afghanistan’s long-running conflict, prisoners of war are often little more than pawns in a chess game to be swapped, sacrificed or paraded as evidence of the enemy’s perfidy ...", he gives a harrowing account of the situation in Afghanistan.
While some of these prisoners in the Panjshir valley are said to be Pakistanis, some hail from China and Burma. However, the Monitor says contrary to published accounts, there were no Chechen or Arab prisoners in these camps.
None of the foreign PoWs will be released until an international peace conference is concluded. At indirect talks in Jeddah in May, both sides broached the issue of prisoner exchange. Yet with the renewed fighting this month, even this tentative process has stalled, says the Monitor.
in the Monitor says despite recent appeals for peace by the United
Nations and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the
renewed hostilities portend yet another summer of bloodshed at the
base of the mighty Hindukush mountains. The persistent instability in
Afghanistan continues to raise high-level concern among countries.
Life term for 3 Pinochet men
SANTIAGO, July 20 (DPA) — For the first time, agents of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s feared secret police were sentenced yesterday on murder charges to life in prison.
An Appeals Court judge in Santiago ruled that prosecutors had proven that — Alvaro Corbalan, Carlos Herrera Jimenez and Armando Cabrera Aguilar had murdered carpenter Juan Alegria Mondaca in 1983.
A fourth former agent was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in prison.
According to testimony, the carpenter was killed to cover up an earlier murder. The former secret police agents, who were freed after their initial trial in 1998, then planted evidence to make it appear that he had taken his own life.
They also drafted a farewell
letter from the victim in which he confessed to the 1982 murder of
Labour leader Tucapel Jimenez. Jimenez was killed after he had called
for the people to bring down Pinochet with a general strike.
More Asians in British Foreign Office
LONDON, July 20 (PTI) — Britain is taking steps to have more Asians and representatives of other ethnic minorities in its foreign office, Robin Cook, Secretary Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, has said.
"I want a foreign office that shows to the world the true face of modern and multi-cultural Britain," Mr Cook said last evening while addressing a community forum at the Victoria Hall here.
Noting that the Asian community had been successful in the fields of law, medicine, business and commerce, he asked, "Why can it not make an equal contribution to the British diplomacy?". "Together, we can achieve it," he said.
The percentage of Asians in the British Foreign Office had gone up from 3 per cent to 4.6 per cent, he said adding that he was keen to have at least 6 per cent.
Piara Singh Khabra, MP, who presided over the meeting acknowledged the efforts being made by the foreign office to harness talents of all ethnic minority communities to make Britain a multi-cultural society.
Mr Cook noted that he has been "selling Britain to the world but today I am here to sell the foreign office to the representatives of the ethnic minorities".
"We are the world’s fifth largest trading nation, exporting more per head than the USA and Japan. We are also the world’s third largest overseas investor. We attract more foreign investment into our economy than any other country except the USA and London is the world’s largest currency market," Mr Cook said.
Malaysian hostages’ release scuttled
JOLO (Philippines), July 20 (DPA) — The release of seven Malaysians among dozens of hostages held by Islamic extremists in the southern Philippines was again scuttled today by squabbling among the rebel leaders, a military official said.
A government emissary, overseeing the negotiations for the hostages, earlier announced that Abu Sayyaf extremists had freed all seven remaining Malaysians on Jolo island in Sulu province, 1,000 km south of Manila.
But the military official said an Abu Sayyaf leader blocked the release at the last minute. Four of the hostages were shifted by another commander to a different hideout where government emissaries were still bargaining to get them.
Meanwhile, the rebels freed a teenaged Filipino boy held captive for more than two months in southern Philippine jungles.
The fundamentalist Abu Sayyaf
guerrillas handed 17-year-old Richard Quintos over to government
emissaries in the hills above Jolo town and the emissaries then
presented the boy to reporters at a military base.
Smog grounds planes in Malaysia
KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 (Reuters) — Smoke from forest fires in Indonesia’s Sumatra has grounded light planes and forced fishermen to stay ashore in neighbouring Malaysia.
Aviation officials in north-western Penang state said today they had barred light planes from flying when the visibility dropped to below 5,000 metres.
William to be next king
kills 76 in S. America
unite churches fail
9 die in Bangladesh
closes "sex supermarket"
hunters find Spanish loot
7 dead, 22
missing in factory collapse
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