- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 22, 2003

Many nations balk at booting Iraqis
A growing list of nations yesterday rejected a U.S. request to expel Iraqi diplomats and close their embassies.
Muslim countries opposed to the war expressed anger about the request, while war skeptics in Europe firmly declined. Even supporters of military action said they were undecided.
"The U.S. can't dictate to other countries," Indonesian Vice President Hamzah Haz told reporters after attending Friday prayers at a mosque outside the capital, Jakarta. "It is only us who can decide our own foreign policies."

SWITZERLAND
Bankers may freeze Saddam's accounts
GENEVA Switzerland said yesterday it was considering a request from the United States to freeze any bank accounts held by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and people linked to his government.
Swiss Foreign Ministry spokesman Livio Zanolari said no decision had been made and repeated a previous government statement that there were no indications the Iraqi leader had any accounts in Switzerland.
Swiss Finance Minister Kaspar Villiger told parliament earlier this month there were no indications that Saddam had accounts in the neutral country.

SRI LANKA
Suspected rebel attack sinks Chinese trawler
COLOMBO Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels sank a Chinese trawler and 18 crew members were missing and presumed dead, Sri Lankan military officials said yesterday.
News of Thursday's attack off the island republic's northeast coast emerged as government and rebel negotiators were wrapping up a sixth round of peace talks in Japan aimed at ending their 19-year civil war over a separate state for minority Tamils.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)denied involvement after initial reports that the rebels had apparently mistaken the boat for a Sri Lankan navy vessel. The trawler was Sri Lankan-registered, and was flying Sri Lankan flags.

NIGERIA
Opponent of U.S. faces cut in aid
LAGOS Nigeria said yesterday the United States had suspended military assistance to Abuja because of its anti-war stance on Iraq. Junior Foreign Minister Dubem Onyia summoned U.S. Ambassador Howard Jeter yesterday. A statement said Mr. Onyia told him Nigeria "will resist any intimidation by the United States government over its stand on the Iraqi question."
The official reason given by the United States for the aid cut was its concern over an army massacre of hundreds of civilians in the central state of Benue in 2001.

LIBERIA
Key provincial capital captured by rebels
MONROVIA Liberia's Defense Ministry yesterday said that rebels had captured the key central provincial capital of Gbarnga and Defense Minister Daniel Chea vowed to retake it. The ministry said the city fell to the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy rebels on Thursday night after intense fighting. But Mr. Chea yesterday vowed to recapture the city and asked civilians to leave within 24 hours.

NORTH KOREA
Communists shelve talks with South
SEOUL North Korea said today it was postponing planned economic cooperation and maritime talks with South Korea because of Seoul's military-alert posture during the Iraqi war, the South's Yonhap news agency said.
North Korea's chief delegate to the inter-Korean economic cooperation committee, Pak Chang-ryon, said in a statement that the North had to postpone the talks indefinitely, Yonhap said, quoting Pyongyang radio.

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