- The Washington Times - Friday, August 1, 2003

AZERBAIJAN

Aliyev son running on ballot with father

BAKU — The son of ailing Azerbaijan President Heidar Aliyev was officially registered yesterday as a candidate in the oil-rich former Soviet republic’s presidential elections, scheduled for Oct. 15.

Ilham Aliyev, a 41-year-old oil executive, becomes the second candidate to make it onto the ballot alongside his 80-year-old father, who for the past three weeks has been in a Turkish hospital.

It remains unclear which member of the family will actually run in the election, with the decision likely to depend on whether the elder Aliyev’s health will hold up long enough.

Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Turkey, Mehmet Nevruzoglu, said yesterday the president is undergoing a checkup, is feeling fine and will return home soon, but the Turkish new media have reported that he is critically ill.

Ilham Aliyev, who is vice president of Azerbaijan’s state oil company and head of the country’s National Olympic Committee, has said he is only running to bolster his father’s campaign for re-election.

Meeting in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, the central election commission voted by 10 votes to 5 to approve Ilham Aliyev’s candidacy after he submitted the necessary documents and 50,000 signatures in his support.

THAILAND

Burma peace plan calls for release of Suu Kyi

BANGKOK — Burmese Foreign Minister Win Aung pledged after talks here yesterday to deliver Thailand’s proposed “road map” for democracy to the country’s ruling generals. It calls for the release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Thailand has proposed the road map as a way of easing international pressure on its military-ruled neighbor to free Mrs. Suu Kyi, who was detained after a junta-backed mob attacked a convoy she was travelling in on May 30.

“We discussed our situation and all the things which we needed to discuss, and we had a friendly exchange of views, and I’m now taking these suggestions and discussions with me back home,” Mr. Win Aung told reporters after talks on the plan with his Thai counterpart.

“These are things we cannot discuss within one hour. Of course we understand, we appreciate the good intentions of my Thai friends towards our country,” he said.

SRI LANKA

President seeks clarity on peace deal

COLOMBO — Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who accuses Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of misleading the nation on a stalled peace deal with Tiger rebels, has asked for clarifications on an offer aimed at breaking the logjam, an official said yesterday.

Diplomatic sources, meanwhile, said senior U.S. and Japanese officials were to visit Sri Lanka next week on fact-finding missions linked to the controversial peace process.

A spokesman for Mrs. Kumaratunga’s People’s Alliance, told reporters here the president in a letter to her rival had sought further details about plans to grant greater political and financial powers to the Tigers ahead of a final peace settlement.

Mrs. Kumaratunga’s top aide, Lakshman Kadirgamar, said last week a document proposing an interim administrative structure was sent to the president by the prime minister, but it was different from one sent to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

INDONESIA

Four suspected rebels killed

BANDA ACEH — A 17-year-old boy was among four suspected Aceh rebels killed in fighting with Indonesian troops, the military said yesterday.

Abdari, 17, died during a clash Thursday in Pidie district, said Lt. Col. Ahmad Yani Basuki, a military spokesman.

He did not say whether Abdari was carrying a weapon, but that troops seized a rocket-propelled grenade launcher after two other suspected Free Aceh Movement (GAM) guerrillas died during exchanges of fire in North Aceh.

In Aceh Besar district Thursday, two soldiers were wounded during another battle that left an unidentified rebel dead, Col. Basuki said.

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