- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 19, 2004

ISRAEL

U.S., Europe to skip hearings on barrier

AMSTERDAM — The United States and most European countries will not appear at the International Court of Justice to press their arguments over the legality of the Israeli barrier in the Palestinian territories, the U.N. court said yesterday.

Thirteen countries, along with the Palestinian Authority, Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, will participate when the court convenes Monday to hear oral arguments, said a court statement.

RUSSIA

Putin promises weapons upgrade

MOSCOW — After two failed missile launches during highly publicized military maneuvers, President Vladimir Putin announced plans to deploy a new generation of strategic weapons and said Moscow may build new missile defenses.

Some analysts said the new weapons may be warheads that zigzag on their way to a target, an idea that dates to the Soviet era.

GERMANY

EU’s Big Three call for reforms

BERLIN — The European Union’s “Big Three” yesterday called for urgent EU economic reforms, but rejected charges they were seeking to dictate to other member states.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, French President Jacques Chirac and British Prime Minister Tony Blair proposed that a powerful new EU commissioner spearhead the bloc’s flagging drive to match the economic performance of the United States.

“We don’t want to dominate anyone, and certainly not Europe,” Mr. Schroeder said after Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Tuesday there was no need for a Franco-German-British “directorate.”

ZIMBABWE

EU envoys agree to renew sanctions

BRUSSELS — The European Union agreed yesterday to renew sanctions against Zimbabwe for a third year in a bid to raise the pressure on the increasingly isolated regime of President Robert Mugabe.

Ambassadors from the 15 EU member states agreed at weekly talks to adopt an extended list of 95 Zimbabwean officials — including Mr. Mugabe — who are banned from entering EU countries. They also agreed to renew an embargo on supplies of arms and military equipment to Harare.

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