- The Washington Times - Friday, November 5, 2004

SRI LANKA

Norway attempts to re-start talks

COLOMBO — Peace broker Norway said Thursday it would ask Sri Lanka’s feuding parties whether they want to resume talks as Tamil Tiger rebels warned foreign-aid donors not to interfere in the faltering peace process.

The Norwegian Embassy said Foreign Minister Jan Petersen would arrive on the island next week for talks with President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran on moving the process forward.

“The purpose is to hear from the parties how they intend to proceed in order to improve respect for the cease-fire agreement, and whether they wish to move toward resuming negotiations,” the embassy statement said.

“Based on signals received from the parties over recent weeks, I do not have high expectations,” the statement quoted Mr. Petersen as saying.

INDIA

Burma said readying push on Naga rebels

GUWAHATI — A rebel group in India’s remote northeast says neighboring army-ruled Burma is preparing military action to drive Indian separatists from its soil.

Rangoon has moved hundreds of soldiers to northern Burma, said Kughalo Mulatonu, a leader of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, fighting for a tribal homeland in India’s Nagaland state.

NEPAL

26 rights activists seized after protests

KATMANDU — Nepali police detained 26 human rights activists Thursday after they protested the an anti-terror law that gives soldiers sweeping powers to battle the Maoist insurgency.

The protest in the capital came days after the government of the Himalayan kingdom changed the law to let security forces detain anyone suspected of involvement in Maoist activities for up to a year without trial, compared with 90 days earlier.

“This is the climax of the arbitrary behavior of the government,” Krishna Pahadi, chief of the Human Rights and Peace Committee, which organized the rally, told Reuters. Police said the activists would be freed later.

Weekly notes

Hamid Karzai pledged two days ago to use his five-year term as Afghanistan’s first elected president to crack down on warlords and the country’s booming drug economy. Accepting victory in the Oct. 9 balloting, Mr. Karzai also appealed to his rivals hours after they conceded defeat despite lingering fraud charges. … Washington lavished rare praise on Russia’s new military base in Tajikistan this week, calling it a key element in building stability in a region threatened by terrorism and drug trafficking. U.S. Ambassador Richard Hoagland visited the base opened last month by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital.

From wire dispatches and staff reportsk

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