|Friday, September 8, 2000,
for W. Asia peace
breakthrough in W. Asia talks
|Farmers, taximen join French fuel
PARIS, Sept 7 Farmers and taxi drivers moved to the front line of Frances fuel tax showdown on Thursday as demonstrators tightened their stranglehold on fuel supplies and the Greens Party issued an ultimatum to its own government.
India to make 300
USA stand by ABM Treaty
UN workers still trapped
|Lankan Parliament summoned
LTTE sea base destroyed
COLOMBO, Sept 7 The Sri Lankan Parliament, which was dissolved last month, has been summoned to meet on September 14 to obtain its approval for the extension of the presidential proclamation on the state of emergency.
Suu Kyi a neo-colonial
Pak rakes up Kashmir issue
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 7 General Pervez Musharraf lived up to the reputation of his predecessors, whether democratically elected or otherwise, by raising the bogey of Kashmir at the United Nations, and proposed before the Millennium Summit that the Security Council should intervene to resolve the issue.
When one party to a dispute is intransigent in rejecting the use of peaceful means, the Security Council is empowered to act, he said, addressing the summit. The problem lies not in the Charter but in the lack of political will. Until we produce that will, all talks of crisis prevention and dispute resolution will ring hollow.
Pakistan has been using the UN platform to internationalise the Kashmir issue, but in recent years India has chosen not to respond to Islamabads accusations and charges against it. It remains to be seen whether the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, will ignore the fulminations of the General against India when he addresses the summit tomorrow.
On Tuesday, the Pakistani leader had dwelt at length on the Kashmir issue and Indias stand in an interview to the New York Times.
In his address to the Millennium Summit, General Musharraf sought to give the impression to his audience that it was India which had taken an intransigent position in its relations with Pakistan.
Pakistan stands for peace and is prepared to take bold initiatives to change the status quo through a dialogue with India at any level, at any time and any where, the Pakistan Chief Executive said, and repeated the offer of a no-war pact. We are ready for a mutual reduction of forces, and we also seek a South Asia free from all nuclear weapons. Pakistan shall not be drawn into an arms race, nuclear or conventional, irrespective of the provocation, he said.
The General, like other leaders before him, spoke only for five minutes, but his countrys obsession with Kashmir came out sharply with a major part of his speech being devoted to accusing India of defying the Kashmiri people their fundamental right to self-determination and of perpetrating savage brutalities. If the people of East Timor could be given their freedom, why not the people of Kashmir? he asked.
As if to assure world leaders concerned over the demise of democracy in Pakistan, General Musharraf said the people of Pakistan had never lost faith in democracy. But autocracy in the garb of democracy led to dishonest governance and the collapse of institutions, he said, adding that he was committed to give the country genuine and durable democracy.
General Musharraf conveniently omitted any reference to cross-border terrorism but the Russian President, Mr Vladimir Putin, told fellow leaders that his country considered terrorism to be the most dangerous and treacherous phenomenon.
President Clinton, who
as the head of state of the host country, was the first
to take the floor in the General Assembly hall, spoke
about the internal wars afflicting the world
wars often driven by ethnic and religious
differences. The situation, he said, presented them with
a collective challenge.
Leaders for W. Asia peace
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 7 (AFP) world leaders renewed appeals for peace in West Asia as they backed proposals by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to strengthen the United Nations.
The US President, Bill Clinton, yesterday led the endorsements, telling the Millennium Summit the largest gathering of Heads of State and governments in history that those in my country or elsewhere who believe we can do without the UN or impose our will upon it, misread history and misunderstand the future.
Mr Clinton noted the presence in the un general Assembly hall of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. They need your support now more than ever to take the hard risks for peace, he said.
They have the chance to do it, but like all lifes chances, it is fleeting and about to pass, he added.
The summit opened with news that three un humanitarian workers had been killed in West Timor by militias opposed to the independence of East Timor.
This tragedy underlines once again the dangers faced by unarmed humanitarian workers serving the United Nations, Mr Annan said, asking delegates to stand for a one-minute silence.
Condemning the attack, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that it is no longer good enough to organise blue helmet operations as if they were still largely geared to marking an agreed ceasefire line between two states that have consented to a un presence.
When the summit ends on tomorrow, it is expected to adopt a millennium declaration that includes specific targets for reducing extreme poverty, illiteracy and aids over the next 15 years.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said his government would develop a plan of action detailing how Germany itself can help ensure that this objective is actually achieved.
President Vladimir Putin, used his first speech to the un to cast Russia as a champion of disarmament.
Particularly alarming are the plans of militarisation of outer space, he said. Mr Putin and Mr Clinton later met for 90 minutes on the sidelines of the summit.
Mr Clinton also had separate meetings with Mr Arafat and Mr Barak.
No breakthrough in W. Asia talks
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 7 (AP) West Asia peacemaking lurched toward an uncertain future after US President Bill Clinton failed to produce a breakthrough in meetings with the Israeli and Palestinian leaders on the sidelines of the UN Millennium Summit.
Mr Clintons back-to-back sessions yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat were widely seen as perhaps the last chance for the three leaders to secure a deal, though the White House said peace efforts would continue
We did not expect today to be a breakthrough day in the process, said White House Spokesman Joe Lockhart. That is true, but the process has not broken down.
Despite dimming prospects, the Clinton administration kept up its diplomatic effort. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright went from a dinner with Russian Foreign Minister, Igor Ivanov, to Mr Baraks hotel for an unscheduled meeting with the Israeli leader just before midnight.
Mr Lockhart dismissed September 13 as an artificial date.
Meanwhile, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said yesterday that he had agreed to share the holy city of Jerusalem, but insisted on the Palestinians national rights to East Jerusalem.
In a speech to the UN Millennium Summit, he said As for Holy Jerusalem. ... we have agreed to share the city, in contrast to the attempts at monopolising it, as a response to exclusively and rejection of our rights.
At the same time we remain committed to our national rights over East Jerusalem, capital of our state and shelter of our sacred sites as well as our rights on the Christian and Islamic holy sites, maintaining the city should be accessible to all, and open onto its western side, he added.
CAIRO (AFP): Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has reiterated to world leaders that the Arab world will not accept Israeli sovereignty over Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem, the state newspaper Al-Gomhurya said in Thursdays editions.
No Arab will accept Israeli sovereignty over Al-Aqsa Mosque, Mr Mubarak told US President Bill Clinton, French President Jacques Chirac and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, said the daily, which reports Mr Mubaraks statements.
Farmers, taximen join French fuel protest
PARIS, Sept 7 (Reuters) Farmers and taxi drivers moved to the front line of Frances fuel tax showdown on Thursday as demonstrators tightened their stranglehold on fuel supplies and the Greens Party issued an ultimatum to its own government.
Farmers demanding lower fuel prices tried to block the Channel Tunnel at Calais but were turned back by riot police. Other farmers blocked train lines near Strasbourg and Bordeaux.
Taxi drivers converged on the centres of major cities for massive go slow protests, pressing Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin to give them the same tax cuts won by fishermen last week and offered to truck owners this week.
About 80 per cent of all petrol stations in France were reported to be either dry or under tight rationing because truckers and farmers blocked refineries and depots. Stations were also shutting in Paris, the area least hit by the protest.
There is no chance right now for the farmers to lift the blockade, Luc Guyau, head of the FNSEA farmers union, said after meeting Agriculture Minister Jean Glavny. There are no more negotiations planned, Glavany said.
The Green Party, part of Jospins coalition, said its leader Environment Minister Dominique Voynet had asked to meet the Prime Minister to discuss how concessions on fuel taxes went against the governments environmental policies.
Ms Voynet stopped short of resigning on Wednesday evening after a heated meeting of her party leaders but warned Jospin he had already gone too far and the Greens would react if the concessions continued. Ms Voynet is one of two Greens ministers in the Cabinet.
Some staff from Air France joined the protest, blocking access to some terminals at Pariss Charles de Gaulle Airport. Ambulance and tour bus drivers, Seine boatmen and driving instructors were also taking part in the spreading strike.
In Alsace near Germany, police guarded 27 petrol stations reserved for emergency services to keep away motorists.
The airport in the western of Rennes ran out of aviation fuel while Nice airport said it expected supply problems by the weekend. Airlines began to advise pilots to tank up in the well-supplied Paris airports or abroad.
Hoping to stop the chain reaction of demands from sectors dependent on diesel and petrol, Mr Jospin put his foot down on Wednesday, declaring the government could go no further than the 15 per cent diesel tax cut offered to the truck owners.
His firm stand only strengthened the protesters resolve to keep up the fight until the government caved in. The truck owners have demanded a 20 per cent cut in diesel tax.
That can only heighten the tension on the ground, Mr Gerard Cardon, a member of the National Association of Road Hauliers (FNTR) in Dunkirk, told Reuters. The government urges us to be responsible, but its responsible for this situation.
FNTR head Rene Petit told France Info Radio he would meet regional officials of his association, the biggest of the three leading the protests, on Thursday to assess the situation. The talks (with the government) have stopped but the dialogue must continue, he said.
Socialist Party leader Francois Hollande told Europe 1 Radio the government might have to use force if the protesters refused to lift their barricades. Using force would be the last resort, he said. If there is a serious risk of paralysing the economy or a risk for public health or daily life in France, I think we should take action.
offer to truck owners would cut diesel taxes for heavy
trucks by 35 centimes to 2.22 French francs ($ 0.293) per
litre this year. The full price per litre, including
taxes, is 5.51 francs, made up mainly of taxes.
India to make 300 Prithvi missiles?
WASHINGTON, Sept 7 (PTI) India will go ahead with full production of about 300 short-range surface-to-surface Prithvi missiles for all three branches of the defence forces, Defense News reported quoting Indian government sources.
The decision, taken by Defence Minister George Fernandes on August 25, was prompted by Pakistans test-firing of its Ghauri-III intermediate range ballistic missile 10 days earlier, on Independence Day, a senior Indian Ministry official, who was not named, was quoted as saying.
The serial production of 300 Prithvis, estimated to cost $ 200 million, will be built at the state-owned Bharat Dynamics Ltd, Hyderabad, which will invest $ 100 million to ready itself for production.
According to the company sources, the Army required 150 Prithvis with a range of 150 km while the Navy needed 100 missiles of equal range. Fifty Prithvi missiles with a longer range of 250 km, known as Prithvi-II, have to be produced to meet the requirements of the IAF, the company said.
The naval version of Prithvi, known as Dhanush, will go into serial production in April, 2001 while Prithvi-II will go into production in June, 2001, the weekly said.
The Army-version prototype of the missile, Prithvi SS-150, with a range of 150 km and capable of carrying a warheads weighing 1,000 kg, was handed over to the service in 1997.
About 40 of the
prototype SS-150s have been deployed along the
countrys border with Pakistan in the Kargil region,
the weekly said, quoting a senior scientist at the
Defence Research and Development Organisation.
Russia, USA stand by ABM Treaty
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 7 (AFP) US President Bill Clinton and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin reaffirmed their commitment to the cornerstone 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM).
The ABM agreement has been at the heart of a raging debate about controversial US plans to develop a nation-wide nuclear defence shield.
Such a programme would overstep the ABM, which allows both countries to build only one small missile defence system under the premise that fear of mutually assured destruction was the safest mechanism for averting a nuclear war.The USA has been lobbying Russia to amend, but still preserve, the ABM treaty.
However, those negotiations have made little headway, with Mr Putin earlier this year threatening to abandon all nuclear agreements should Washington encroach on the ABM treaty.
Yesterdays agreement and previous similar initiatives establish a constructive basis for progress in further reducing nuclear weapons arsenals, preserving and strengthening the ABM treaty, and confronting new challenges to international security, the joint statement signed by Mr Putin and Mr Clinton says.
NEW YORK (DPA): US President Bill Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on Wednesday for discussions about arms control and pledged to cooperate against an emerging missile threat from Third World nations. The two leaders met for 90 minutes on the fringes of the UN Millennium Summit.
The atmosphere for their discussions was improved by Mr Clintons decision last Friday to leave a decision on deploying a national missile defence system to his successor, who will take office in January.
But before meeting with Mr Putin, Mr Clinton emphasised that his decision merely bought time for the Russian and US Governments to agree on modifications to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty, which the Clinton Administration wants to change to accommodate a limited missile defence system.
They also committed themselves for the first time to agreeing on prior notification for any ballistic missile launches and for establishing by early next year a joint early warning facility to detect missile launches, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott said following the meeting.
The two countries will cooperate on joint threat assessments about potential missile capabilities in North Korea, Iraq and Iran, and will coordinate their theatre missile defence efforts, US officials said.
They also discussed the Balkans, and US fears that Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic might rig the September 24 elections and clamp down on Montenegro, Serbias junior partner in the Yugoslav federation.
90 UN workers still trapped
JAKARTA, Sept 7 (AFP) The UN today pressed ahead with evacuating all its staff from Indonesian-controlled West Timor, flying 100 personnel out of the main town of Kupang.
Efforts were also underway to try to take out another 90 still trapped in the West Timor border town of Atambua, un officials said.
The first evacuation flight of un personnel from Kupang arrived in Indonesias resort island of Bali early today with 75 aid workers aboard, Chris Lom of the International Organisation for Migration (iom) told afp by phone.
Lom described the situation in the West Timorese capital as calm but unpredictable after the murderous militia attack in Atambua that left three un High Commissioner for Refugees (unhcr) personnel dead and several injured.
Meanwhile, international condemnations and criticism flew after at least three foreign un staff working with east timorese refugees were killed and several injured in a savage attack by pro-indonesian militia in West Timor.
Us president Bill Clinton said he was deeply saddened and called on the Indonesian authorities to put a stop to these abuses.
Un secretary-General Kofi Annan held an urgent meeting with Indonesian President Abdur Rahman Wahid who was also attending the Millennium Summit and condemned the murders.
UN officials said Annan had declared the security situation in that region to be unacceptable and that Wahid replied that he had ordered two extra battalions to the town, one of which was already on its way.
Reuters adds: Indonesias military said on Thursday the slaying of three foreign uN workers in West Timor resulted from a local row that got out of hand, but concerns are mounting it was part of a deliberate campaign of terror.
Military spokesman Air Vice-Marshal Graito Usodo said one man had been arrested and troops were hunting more suspects. But he added they did not want to arrest too many at once.
unhcr workers Samson Aregahegn of Ethiopia, Carlos Caceres-Collazo, an American from Puerto Rico, and Pero Simundza of Croatia died when militiamen attacked the agencys office in Atambua, about 2,000 km east of Jakarta.
Lankan Parliament summoned
COLOMBO, Sept 7 (UNI) The Sri Lankan Parliament, which was dissolved last month, has been summoned to meet on September 14 to obtain its approval for the extension of the presidential proclamation on the state of emergency.
The special session is being summoned under the powers vested in the President by the Constitution.
The proclamation issued by President Chandrika Kumaratunga in 1995 extending the state of emergency in the entire island has to be renewed every month. The usual practice is that every month Parliament approves a government motion extending the state of emergency.
However, since Parliament was dissolved on August 18 and elections scheduled for October 10, the President had to summon it for a special session.
Parliament will remain dissolved soon after its sitting on September 14.
In the run-up to elections, a candidate of the Left and Democratic alliance for the October 10 parliamentary elections was kidnapped on Tuesday night outside a private hospital.
Police investigation revealed that Mr Jayanth Anura had complained to the police earlier that he had received threats on several occasions.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka air forces MiG-27, bombed and destroyed a Tamil rebel coastal base in a renewed offensive to weaken the guerrillas in the northern Jaffna Peninsula, a military spokesman said on Thursday.
Suu Kyi a neo-colonial stooge
YANGON, Sept 7 (Reuters) A war of words between myanmar and its international critics escalated on Thursday with a stinging response from the military government to an embarrassing barrage of criticism at the UN Millennium summit in New York.
A commentary in the state-run, English-language New Light of Myanmar newspaper said pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, padlocked by the authorities inside her home since Saturday, was a neo-colonialist stooge being kept under supervision for her own safety.
All these protesters, presidential candidates, Heads of State, the Secretary-General of the UN, blithely jumped on the trumpet-blowing bandwagon of calumInating (SIC) Myanmar, not because they see, they hear, they know for themselves the Myanmar affairs, but for their own selfish purposes and aims, it said.
UNITED NATIONS: The USA and the UK have rapped Myanmars military regime for detaining pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and demanded her immediate release.
We face a clear
moral test today in Burma where a popular leader who has
struggled peacefully for dialogue has once again been
confined, with her supporters imprisoned and her country
in distress, all in defiance of repeated UN
resolutions, US President Bill Clinton said.
hits life in Bdesh
rebels killed in clashes
to N. Korea
record round-the-world trip
caged in wooden pen
China rejects US
home-grown panda born
two chimps, kills one
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