- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 22, 2000

Albright in China, focusing on Korea

BEIJING Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright arrived in the Chinese capital yesterday for talks focusing on bilateral ties and the situation on the Korean Peninsula after last week's historic inter-Korean summit.

Mrs. Albright is scheduled to visit Seoul after her talks in Beijing.

On Monday, she called the summit in Pyongyang between North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung "totally fascinating" and said she was eager to hear from officials in Seoul how they envisioned the rapprochement with the North proceeding.

The White House, Pentagon and State Department have said the summit alone cannot erase the half-century of tension on the peninsula and maintain that North Korea is the biggest threat the United States faces from possible missile strikes.

Milosevic may face new indictments

PRISTINA, Yugoslavia Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, now indicted in connection with bloodshed in Kosovo, might face additional charges for his role in previous Balkan wars, the chief prosecutor of the U.N. war-crimes tribunal said yesterday.

The prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, also announced that Mr. Milosevic's archenemies in Kosovo the former commanders of the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army, which fought Mr. Milosevic's forces until a year ago are being investigated on suspicion of war crimes.

Mr. Milosevic is already indicted by the tribunal for his reputed role in atrocities during the Serbian crackdown on Kosovo Albanians that ended a year ago.

Annan defends talks with Hezbollah chief

JERUSALEM With Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak smiling tightly by his side, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday defended his meeting with a Hezbollah chieftain, the first ever between a top international official and a leader of the Shi'ite Muslim group.

Mr. Annan's groundbreaking parley with Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday was yet another sign of how some long-standing Middle East realities were abruptly rearranged by Israel's troop pullout last month from south Lebanon.

Rightist gangs admit Colombian kidnapping

BOGOTA, Colombia Right-wing paramilitary gangs admitted yesterday they kidnapped a government peace envoy's brother, saying "extreme measures" were needed to prevent the handing over of Colombia to leftist guerrillas.

National paramilitary boss Carlos Castano confirmed in a radio interview that he sent the gunmen who seized Guillermo Valencia, brother of peace negotiator Fabio Valencia.

"We're not trying to force the resignation of Mr. Valencia as government negotiator, nor create obstacles to the negotiating process," Mr. Castano said in a statement he read on RCN radio. "But we do seek to stop the continuing and progressive handover of the country to the guerrillas."

Fiji's soldiers poised to sign accord on coup

SUVA, Fiji Fiji's military government and rebel leaders plan to meet later today in the hopes of signing an accord for the release of 31 political hostages held for 33 days, a military spokesman said.

"We are hoping to get the hostages released as soon as possible, although I cannot say exactly when," spokesman Capt. Eroni Volovola said.

A team of psychologists and medical doctors have gathered in the capital of Suva to deal with the hostages once they are released, said the military's chief medical officer, Maj. Epeli Nailatikau.

Trucking firm chief arrested in 58 deaths

LONDON Police yesterday arrested the owner of the trucking company that carried 58 illegal Chinese immigrants to their deaths in an unventilated truck. An attorney said the vehicle was so full that eight other stowaways were turned away.

Arie van der Spek, 24, surrendered to police in the Dutch port of Rotterdam on Tuesday night, the third person in custody in the suffocation deaths of the immigrants, who were found Sunday by inspectors in the English port of Dover.

The 58 victims, along with two survivors, were discovered when customs officials opened a truck arriving by ferry from the Belgian port of Zeebrugge. The immigrants, all in their 20s, were stowed with a cargo of tomatoes. They died of respiratory failure.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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