- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 6, 2000

8 killed as clashes continue in Abidjan

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast Police battled opposition supporters and gangs of youths divided slums into ethnic enclaves in the Ivory Coast's main city yesterday as a second day of political and ethnic violence left at least eight persons dead.

Eight bodies were found in the streets, but an opposition official estimated that about 30 people have been killed.

Youths with machetes and iron bars set up roadblocks to find, and often beat, members of enemy tribes as the city once known as the "Paris of Africa" turned into a patchwork of chaos and calm, with most stores closed and people staying home. Hardest hit were Abidjan's poor, densely populated areas.

The Supreme Court's decision last week to disqualify the main opposition leader, Alassane Dramane Ouattara, from running in legislative elections Dec. 10 sparked the protests.

Cohen warns Europe on defense needs

BRUSSELS Defense Secretary William S. Cohen warned his European colleagues yesterday, telling them if they don't start spending more on their military and work out a new EU-NATO relationship, the alliance "could become a relic of history."

The 15-nation European Union is developing its own rapid-reaction force, separate from NATO but with plans to share some NATO planning facilities, intelligence and communications.

It would use the force to address crises with which the trans-Atlantic alliance does not want to get involved. The EU wants to be able to field a 60,000-man force by 2003.

Fox acts on pledge for Indian rights

MEXICO CITY President Vicente Fox submitted a long-delayed Indian-rights bill to Congress yesterday, fulfilling one of his first campaign promises to seek peace in the troubled southern state of Chiapas.

Luis H. Alvarez, the man Mr. Fox appointed to lead talks with leftist Zapatista rebels aimed at ending their 6-year-old uprising, announced the submission of the bill and urged Congress to consider it quickly.

"The Indian peoples have already waited many years, many decades, many centuries" for recognition of their rights, Mr. Alvarez said.

Fox, who ended 71 years of rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party when he took office Dec. 1, has made peace in Chiapas one of his first priorities.

Israeli diplomat shot in Jordan

AMMAN, Jordan An Israeli Embassy employee was shot and wounded as he was leaving a food store in an upscale Amman neighborhood last night, government and hospital officials said.

A government statement read over government television said the Israeli diplomat was in "good condition" after he was wounded by "a gunshot in his left foot … during an attack by an unidentified assailant."

Police are investigating the incident, the statement added.

Opposition confident as Ghana vote nears

ACCRA, Ghana Ghana's opposition said as campaigning in presidential and parliamentary elections ended yesterday that it would win despite "dirty tricks" it says the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) will attempt.

"Today marks the beginning of the total fall of the NDC," said presidential hopeful John Kufuor of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).

The opposition charges that a Supreme Court ruling Monday allowing voters to present old identification cards bearing only thumbprints or new photo IDs would open the way for the NDC to rig tomorrow's elections.

IRA says it's ready to relinquish arms

BELFAST The IRA said yesterday it was ready to relinquish arms that fueled a long guerrilla war in Northern Ireland, but said Britain must honor its commitments if the peace deadlock is to be broken.

The Irish Republican Army issued its statement as President Clinton prepared for a final peace-building visit to the British province as U.S. leader, hoping to restore confidence in the landmark Good Friday accord.

Mr. Clinton said yesterday he hoped his visit next week would help to shore up the peace process and warned that heated disputes could spark a return to violence despite years of progress.

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