April 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India
Powell, Arafat hold talks on crisis
Gusmao is East Timor President
Gujarat figures in UK Parliament
Dialogue ‘only way’ to
solve Kashmir issue
Powell, Arafat hold talks on crisis
Ramallah (West Bank), April 17
Mr Powell went straight into a meeting with the beleaguered Palestinian leader, where there was a “friendly and business-like greeting,” according to a US State Department official in Ramallah.
The situation in the Palestinian territories is worse now than when US Secretary of State Colin Powell started his peace mission a week ago, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat has said.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army has arrested two Palestinian journalists in the centre of the West Bank city of Ramallah, witnesses said.
Troops had entered a building in the city, detaining 11 journalists they found inside and taking them to the nearby military camp of Ofer. The journalists were then questioned for several hours.
Maher Shallabi, who works for several satellite television networks, and Majib Sawalha, who works for Moroccan television, were arrested yesterday following interrogation, according to some of the other journalists, who had been released.
TULKARM: Israeli troops and tanks swept into two West Bank villages today and a civilian was reported killed. Witnesses and local officials said soldiers shot dead Anwar Nassar as he stood on his roof in Bal’a village, east of Tulkarm. Ambulances were not allowed in to retrieve his body.
Witnesses said earlier that tanks had fired shells at the Palestinian National Security headquarters in Bal’a and also opened fire in Silat al-Harthiyah, north of Jenin.
UNITED NATIONS: Warning that the current conflagration in the Middle East could escalate beyond the region, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called for a third-party mechanism on the ground to quell violence and foster progress.
“Such a mechanism could take the shape of international monitors of a ceasefire,” Mr Annan said in a message to the UN International Meeting in Support of Middle East Peace, held in Nicosia.
WASHINGTON: US President George W. Bush has intensified pressure on Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat by putting new anti-terrorism conditions on a routine memorandum for a six-month waiver that would permit the PLO to maintain an official presence in Washington and allow the USA to continue aid the Palestinian people.
National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack said President Bush determined in the “national security interest” to continue relations with the PLO. Agencies
Gusmao is East Timor President
Dili, East Timor, April 17
Gusmao’s widely-expected success saw him win 82.69 per cent of Sunday’s vote to 17.31 per cent for less charismatic rival Francisco Xavier do Amaral, according to Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) results announced today.
"We can now say from the national results that Xanana Gusmao is the first elected President of East Timor," Carlos Valenzuela, Chief Electoral Officer of the IEC, told Reuters.
East Timor will formally become the world’s newest nation on May 20 when the United Nations hands over administration to the new government.
Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri, who has often sparred with the widely-popular Gusmao, warmly welcomed the outcome and sought to allay fears his ruling Fretilin Party would be a source of conflict for Gusmao’s new administration.
"I have come here to congratulate Xanana Gusmao. I do this from the bottom of my heart, believe it or not," he told a news conference.
East Timor’s new Constitution outlines a semi-presidential system of government where an elected President can dismiss the Prime Minister and veto legislation but in a framework of strong checks and balances that makes cooperation critical.
Alkatiri, who cast a blank vote in Sunday’s election, vowed to work with the former guerrilla leader and uphold democracy amid concerns bickering between the two could create problems for the new government as it grapples with rebuilding the traumatised nation that was once a Portuguese colony but was invaded and taken over by Indonesia in 1975.
"What I want to declare here is that if I’m part of the government and if I’m Prime Minister of this new government then I will do all in my power to create a sound relationship between the President and the Parliament and the government and within the spirit of cementing national unity and democracy."
Alkatiri, whose current role is the equivalent of Prime Minister, said it was up to his party to decide whether he would remain in the current post.
The U.N. chief in the territory was quick to congratulate Gusmao, adding he implicitly trusted his ability to govern the war-racked nation.
"As the first president of an independent East Timor I trust that Xanana Gusmao will devote his infinite energy and will to fulfilling the noble pledges he made during the campaign," De Mello said. Reuters
Gujarat figures in UK Parliament
London, April 17
“We are deeply concerned about the deaths and injuries on both sides of the religious divide” in Gujarat, he said answering questions related to India and the subcontinent in the House of Commons yesterday.
“We have been in regular contact with the Government of India and they have strongly condemned the violence in Gujarat, and have given assurances which I welcome, that they will take action to bring to justice the perpetrators of the attack,” he said.
On the Kashmir issue, he said a political dialogue and not violence could help in finding a solution to the vexed problem and asked India to allow “external monitors” for the forthcoming assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
“In our view, only a political dialogue, not violence and terrorism, will bring a solution,” Mr Straw said, adding that unfortunately, “military mobilisations on both sides of the Line of Control remain high.”
Replying to a specific question from Mr Barry Gardiner, Chairman of the Labour friends of India, whether he would put on notice those who, by sponsoring cross-border terrorism, would seek to destabilise the area in the run-up to elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Straw said “I have been unequivocal in condemning all forms of terrorism, not least cross-border terrorism across the Line of Control”. PTI
Dialogue ‘only way’ to solve Kashmir issue
Sharjah, April 17
Two senior Hurriyat Conference leaders — its former chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone — held preliminary discussions on Kashmir with Sardar Abdul Qayoom Khan, Chairman of the Kashmir Committee set up by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.
While Qayoom Khan utilised a press conference yesterday mostly to slam India for alleged human rights excesses and repression in Kashmir, the Lone was less into India-baiting and more into the possibilities he saw for the success of peaceful dialogue.
Talks between the Kashmiri leaders from both sides were only a preliminary step, Mr Lone said.
“This is only the first step. We had broad discussions and we do not get such an opportunity to meet and exchange ideas.
“We will go back and take the ideas we discussed here to our respective governments so that violence in Kashmir can end,” Mr Lone and Mr Khan told the press conference.
Mr Khan said Mirwaiz could not come to the press conference because of health reasons.
Lone said the Hurriyat wanted self determination in Kashmir but had placed other options before the Indian Government.
“If the government is not ready to allow self determination, the alternative is they should be ready to settle the dispute through a meaningful dialogue involving all parties concerned,” he said adding New Delhi should facilitate the issuing of travel documents to Kashmiri leaders so that they could travel freely to meet with Kashmiri leaders from across the border.
Mr Khan favoured the involvement by a third party like the UN or other friendly countries to join the dialogue.
When Mr Lone said the Kashmiri struggle was a freedom struggle, he was asked if that meant he was not in favour of acceding to Pakistan. “How did you derive that from what I said?” he countered without answering the question.
Mr Lone said the Hurriyat would not take part in the forthcoming Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
He dismissed the suggestion put forward earlier by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah that the Line of Control be recognised as permanent border as a solution to the dispute. “That is no solution,” he said. PTI
Court permits boy to wear kirpan to school
Montreal, April 17
Gurbaj Singh, 12, and his parents went to court after his school refused to allow him to wear the kirpan, which he had worn since his baptism.
In an interim decision taken yesterday, Quebec’s superior court said while the boy could wear the dagger (kirpan) to school, he must keep it wrapped in material and hidden out of sight beneath his clothes.
Only late last year when the boy’s kirpan fell out during a recess period did the Montreal school he attends realise he carried one.
The school suspended Gurbaj from classes while the kirpan issue was being discussed, insisting that carrying a weapon into class went against safety rules.
Other Canadian schools have succeeded in convincing young Sikhs to carry to class a representation of a kirpan — whether in the form of a pendant or something made of plastic — to avoid its possible use as a weapon in school.
But the parents of Gurbaj rejected a replacement, saying that it went against Sikhism. AFP
EX-GUATEMALAN PRESIDENT DEAD ACTOR ROBERT URICH DIES OF CANCER LETTER MAKES POSTAL EMPLOYEE SICK MAN ARRESTED FOR KILLING 29 BEGGARS
ACTOR ROBERT URICH DIES OF CANCER
LETTER MAKES POSTAL EMPLOYEE SICK
MAN ARRESTED FOR KILLING 29 BEGGARS
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