- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 2, 2000

Top Jordan minister flies into Iraq

BAGHDAD Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb arrived in Baghdad yesterday, the highest-ranking Arab official to visit Iraq for a decade, Iraqi airport officials said.
They said Mr. Ragheb arrived aboard a Royal Jordanian Airbus A320, which landed at recently reopened Saddam International Airport, accompanied by seven ministers, 12 senators and deputies, and top energy and trade officials and businessmen.
The trip, aimed at expanding bilateral ties, will focus on securing Baghdad's agreement to renew an annual oil deal worth at least $700 million this year. The arrangement supplies Jordan with most of its crude and refined oil products on undisclosed concessionary terms.
"Jordanian-Iraqi relations are distinguished, and we will work for maintaining them," Mr. Ragheb said on arrival at the Baghdad airport.

14 Russian soldiers killed in Chechnya

NAZRAN, Russia In one of the bloodiest recent days in the year-old Chechnya war, rebels killed 14 Russian servicemen in a 24-hour period around the breakaway region, an official with Chechnya's pro-Russian administration said yesterday.

In one attack, rebels ambushed a police convoy on a wooded road in eastern Chechnya, prompting a 30-minute shootout. Six servicemen died. Eight others were killed in rebel attacks on checkpoints and administrative buildings around Chechnya, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

In the convoy ambush near Kurchaloi, the Russians called for backup, and helicopters swooped in and rained missiles on suspected rebel escape routes. But the rebels managed to get away, and it was not clear whether they suffered any losses.

U.S. planes bomb Iraqi air defenses

ISTANBUL Responding to Iraqi fire, U.S. jets bombed Iraq's air defense system in the northern no-fly zone yesterday, the U.S. military said in a statement.

The warplanes dropped bombs on the air defense sites after Iraqi forces fired surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft artillery at U.S. planes patrolling an area near Mosul, 250 miles north of Baghdad. All planes left the area safely, according to the statement from the Germany-based U.S. European Command.

The United States has been enforcing no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq since the end of the Persian Gulf war in 1991 to protect groups opposed to the Baghdad government. Iraq, which regards the zones as violations of its territorial sovereignty, has been challenging the patrols since December 1998.

Renegade officer stalked in Peru

MOQUEGUA, Peru Army troops pursued an elusive renegade officer in Peru's southern Andes for a third day yesterday, as some 150 unarmed army reservists marched to the area to join the rebel leader's protest.
Lt. Col. Ollanta Humala took over a mine Sunday to start the uprising, challenging President Alberto Fujimori's authority and demanding the imprisonment of ex-spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos.
The military said Col. Humala's force of more than 50 men had dwindled to as few as 10 followers Tuesday after most of the group deserted or were captured without a shot being fired.

48 die as plane crashes in Angola

LUANDA, Angola A charter plane burst into flames minutes after takeoff, crashing into a remote jungle in a key diamond-mining region, authorities said yesterday. All 48 persons aboard were killed, reports said.
The cause of the crash Tuesday evening was not immediately known. Flight disasters in Angola are commonly blamed on poor aircraft maintenance or rebel gunfire.
The Antonov 26 had just departed from the northern Angolan town of Saurimo, 500 miles east of Luanda, when it exploded at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Civil Aviation Director Branco Ferreira said yesterday.

Early ties predicted with new Yugoslavia

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia Diplomatic relations between the United States and Yugoslavia, which joined the United Nations yesterday, could be restored by next week, a U.S. official said.
But new Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica appears wary of immediate close cooperation with Washington, the official said on the condition of anonymity yesterday.
Relations also could be resumed "within about a week" with NATO allies Germany, France and Great Britain on a similar timetable. That would end the diplomatic freeze since the alliance's 78-day bombing campaign began in March 1999, said the official.

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