- The Washington Times - Monday, May 8, 2000

Barak, Arafat meet, talks continue today

JERUSALEM Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat met yesterday to try to bridge wide gaps over the scope of a Palestinian state and other issues that threaten to scuttle negotiations.
The meeting was described as productive and the two leaders agreed that the negotiations on the permanent peace agreement would be resumed today, Mr. Barak's spokesman, Gadi Baltiansky, said in a news release.
The talks took place at the home of Mr. Arafat's deputy, Mahmoud Abbas, in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Security officers crowded the three-story villa, shooing away reporters as cars with Israeli license plates converged on the plush home.

Journalist gunned down in north of Spain

MADRID A newspaper columnist who was an outspoken critic of the armed Basque separatist group ETA was shot and killed outside his home yesterday in Spain's conflict-ridden northern Basque region.
Officials said ETA was likely behind the killing of Jose Luis Lopez de La Calle, though they made no arrests. No one claimed responsibility.
Mr. Lopez a political columnist for El Mundo, a leading Spanish daily was hit by two shots in the head and two in the chest as he returned to his home after buying newspapers shortly before 10 a.m., a spokesman for the Interior Ministry in Bilbao said. The attack took place in the northern town of Andoain.

Hard-line Iranians claim vote fraud

TEHRAN Hard-liners said yesterday they had found evidence of vote fraud in Iran's February elections that were swept by reformers, raising fears that they would annul victories of candidates who support loosening the conservative clergy's rule.
The suspected fraud was in the capital, Tehran, where reformists won 29 of 30 seats in the 290-seat parliament. Tehran was the top prize in a nationwide victory for reformers, who ousted conservatives from control of the legislature for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution brought the clergy to power.
Upon the request of losing candidates, the Guardians Council, a hard-line body that oversees elections, ordered a recount. In a statement yesterday, the council said it had found unspecified discrepancies of more than 10 percent.

Security Council discusses Africa's Horn

NEW YORK The Security Council met in emergency consultations yesterday to discuss the Horn of Africa dispute after indirect peace talks between Eritrea and Ethiopia broke down.
In comments to reporters in the capital on Saturday, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin accused Eritrea of derailing the proximity talks, saying Eritrea had set preconditions for negotiations to resolve the 23-month-old border dispute.
The two Horn of Africa countries went to war in May 1998 over their frontier, which has not been demarcated since Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993. Both Eritrea and Ethiopia have accepted a framework peace agreement and a broad implementation strategy drafted by the Organization of African Unity.

Cocaine labs destroyed in Colombia

BOGOTA Police destroyed 44 cocaine-processing labs yesterday and seized 215 pounds of coca paste in a vast anti-drug operation in northeastern Colombia, officials said.
Anti-narcotics police arrested 30 persons in the sweep of the area on the border with Venezuela, disputed between ultraright paramilitary groups and the country's second-largest leftist rebel group, police said.
Agents also destroyed nearly 30 tons of chemical precursors used to process coca leaf into the white powder drug. The area of the operation in Norte de Santander province is believed to be Colombia's second-largest coca-growing region after the Putumayo in the south.

* Based on wire dispatches and staff reports.

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