- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 14, 2004

U.S., EU in touch with Hamas leaders

LONDON — The United States and the European Union are in contact with the Palestinian militant group Hamas despite having listed it as a terrorist organization, a Hamas leader said in an interview broadcast last night.

Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal told the British Broadcasting Corp. that the militant group, which has been at the forefront of a four-year-old Palestinian uprising, has no plans to agree to a cease-fire unless it is decided by a referendum or negotiated among all Palestinian powers.

“Negotiating without resistance leads to surrender, but negotiating with resistance leads to real peace,” he said.

SUDAN

Rebels suspend peace talks

ABUJA — Two Darfur rebel groups at peace talks with the Sudanese government in Nigeria refused to take part in any further discussions until Khartoum stopped attacking their forces, rebel delegates said yesterday.

The African Union, which had been mediating the talks in the Nigerian capital, had accused both sides of increasingly frequent cease-fire violations in the western Sudanese region where 1.6 million people have been driven from their homes.

UKRAINE

U.S. accused of election meddling

KIEV — Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych accused the United States yesterday of meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs, saying Americans have financed his opponent’s presidential campaign.

The United States denied the accusations, saying Washington sends money to Ukraine to promote democracy, not to meddle in elections.

Also yesterday, Ukrainian lawmakers reopened a parliamentary investigation into Viktor Yushchenko’s charges that authorities tried to kill him, after doctors in Austria determined the presidential candidate had been poisoned by dioxin.

IRAN

Nuclear negotiators seeking trust

BRUSSELS — Three European powers and Iran began talks on a long-term agreement on nuclear, economic and security cooperation yesterday with both sides seeking to build trust amid continuing suspicion over Tehran’s atomic program.

The United States accuses Iran of concealing a secret nuclear weapons program.

LIBERIA

Fighters accused in sexual assaults

DAKAR — Fighters sexually assaulted about two-thirds of Liberia’s population during more than a decade of war and have not been punished more than a year after the conflict ended, Amnesty International said in a report to be released today.

The attacks in the West African country mainly targeted women, although the human rights group said that men and boys also were victims. Amnesty called on Liberia’s interim government, which took power last year after former President Charles Taylor was forced into exile under a peace deal, to bring those responsible to justice.

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