- The Washington Times - Friday, July 21, 2000

Burundians skeptical on quick peace deal

ARUSHA, Tanzania Burundi's President Pierre Buyoya warned Thursday against the premature signing of a peace accord to end the war in his country, saying more work remained to be done than indicated by chief mediator Nelson Mandela.

"We have made new progress, but there are still problems to settle, such as the setting up of transition institutions and their duration, the modalities of a cease-fire, the electoral system and guarantees for the accord," Mr. Buyoya said.

One positive development in the Arusha talks is the unprecedented presence of Jean-Bosco Ndayikengurukiye, who leads a key rebel group, the Forces for the Defense of Democracy (FDD).

Mr. Ndayikengurukiye said Thursday he supports rapidly nailing down an all-party peace deal, but his movement could not agree to a unilateral cease-fire.

Pakistan keeps options on first strike open

BERLIN Pakistan would consider using nuclear weapons first if attacked by conventional forces, its deputy foreign minister said Thursday.

"There is no way Pakistan can hold out any assurance that it will not use any nuclear weapons if its existence is threatened," said Inam ul Haque, the highest-ranking Pakistani official to visit Germany since nuclear tests in 1998.

"There is no such assurance on the part of India either," he said during a breakfast briefing for journalists.

Pakistan carried out nuclear tests in May 1998 in response to similar tests from arch-rival India, which drew worldwide criticism and sanctions. India has said it is committed to a "no first use" nuclear policy.

Mitchell calls peace process irreversible

LONDON George Mitchell, the former U.S. senator who helped to steer Northern Ireland on the road to peace, said Thursday that the process was irreversible.

Mr. Mitchell, speaking to Reuters after addressing a conference of the American Bar Association in London, dismissed a bomb scare by dissident guerrillas in the British capital on Wednesday as merely a setback.

He said such incidents would not bring down the 1998 Good Friday peace accord.

Anti-Fujimori protests planned for inaugural

LIMA, Peru A group of 400 protesters were set Thursday to leave Iquitos, the northeastern city on the Amazon River, for Lima to protest the Sunday inauguration of President Alberto Fujimori.

Opposition leader Alejandro Toledo, who dropped out of the presidential race in protest, was scheduled to bid the group farewell.

Organizers with Mr. Toledo's Peru Possible party said the protesters would make the first half of the 620-mile journey by boat, down the Amazon, before continuing on to the capital by land.

4 Malaysian hostages released in Philippines

JOLO, Philippines Muslim rebels released four Malaysian hostages in the southern Philippines Friday out of the dozens of mostly foreign captives held for months.

Reporters saw the four driven into a military camp in the main town on Jolo, an island 600 miles south of Manila, at dawn. They waved to reporters but were not allowed to speak to them and military spokesmen did not immediately comment.

There was no word on the three remaining Malaysian hostages. The Malaysians were among 21 persons abducted by the Abu Sayyaf rebels from a Malaysian diving resort on April 23 and brought to Jolo. Two Malaysians and a German woman were released earlier.

'Center-left' economy planned for Mexico

MEXICO CITY Mexican president-elect Vicente Fox plans to implement a market-based center-left economy, one of his top aides said Thursday.

"We are working on a model that believes in markets, that believes in competition but that also believes in governmental intervention when necessary to reduce inequalities in our society and our economy," said Eduardo Sojo.

"Where can we situate that model?" he asked, answering "at the center-left."

Based on wire dispatches and staff reports.

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