- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 6, 2004

ETHIOPIA

African leaders told to default on debts

ADDIS ABABA — A top economic adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged African countries yesterday to default on their debts if rich lender countries refused to cancel them.

American economist Jeffrey Sachs made the recommendation to a hunger conference on the eve of a summit of the African Union. The AU estimates that sub-Saharan Africa has foreign debts of $201 billion.

“The time has come to end this charade. The debts are unaffordable,” said Mr. Sachs, Mr. Annan’s special adviser on global anti-poverty targets. “If they won’t cancel the debts, I would suggest obstruction; you do it yourselves.”

JORDAN

Saddam defense team to convoy to Baghdad

AMMAN — Saddam Hussein’s Jordan-based defense team said yesterday a convoy of buses is being arranged to transport hundreds of legal professionals to Baghdad in a show of support for the ousted Iraqi leader.

Issam Ghazawi, a prominent lawyer and one of the 21-strong defense team hired by Saddam’s wife, said the contingent of lawyers ready to defend Saddam includes 700 non-Arabs, among them 400 Americans and Europeans.

“More than half of the over 2,000 lawyers volunteering to defend President Saddam are expected to join the trip,” Mr. Ghazawi said.

FRANCE

Government restores relations with Iraq

PARIS — France and Iraq will restore diplomatic relations that were severed 13 years ago during the Gulf war, the French Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi met yesterday with Bernard Bajolet, France’s highest diplomatic representative in Iraq, and discussed the restoration of ties that Saddam Hussein broke off in 1991, a ministry said.

France opposed the U.S.-led war that toppled Saddam last year and has turned down U.S. requests for military help in quelling an insurgency that threatens the interim Iraqi government.

BAHRAIN

U.S. military families get orders to leave

MANAMA — U.S. military families will begin leaving Bahrain in the next few days after reports said terrorists were planning attacks here, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet said yesterday.

Cmdr. James Graybeal said the formal departure orders came two days after the Pentagon announced the first such mandatory evacuation from this U.S. ally in the Gulf.

Cmdr. Graybeal said the orders affected 350 families, or about 650 people, all relatives of service members or Defense Department staff. The U.S. 5th Fleet is based in Bahrain, where the U.S. Navy has been for more than 50 years.

SOUTH AFRICA

Court voids jail term for Winnie Mandela

PRETORIA — Anti-apartheid icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela avoided going to jail yesterday when a court reduced her prison sentence for fraud to a suspended sentence, but she vowed to appeal again.

Nelson Mandela’s former wife, 67, was sentenced to jail last year over a scam involving loan applications for bogus employees of the African National Congress Women’s League, but freed on bail pending an appeal.

The Pretoria High Court yesterday quashed her conviction on 25 counts of theft but upheld 43 counts of fraud.

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