- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 19, 2004

LIBYA

U.S. to lift trade sanctions

President Bush is expected to formally revoke the U.S. trade embargo on Libya to reward Tripoli for keeping its promises to give up weapons of mass destruction, U.S. officials said.

U.S. officials said that talks between U.S. and Libyan officials in London on Friday went well and that Libya met U.S. requirements for an ongoing program to verify Tripoli has dismantled its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs and also agreed to eliminate its Scud B missiles.

Libya’s actions — the third and final phase of its Dec. 19 decision to give up WMD — are sufficient for Mr. Bush to end the remaining U.S. sanctions on Libyan aviation and unfreeze Libyan government assets in the United States, officials said.

In its first phase of cooperation, Tripoli allowed U.S. and British inspectors to scour the country and search its records on such programs. In the second phase, it permitted the physical removal of its nuclear components to the United States and the destruction of chemical weapons and related munitions.

Mr. Bush is also expected to permanently scrap the core U.S. sanctions that he suspended in April, when he allowed U.S. companies to buy Libya’s oil and invest in its economy for the first time since 1986.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Power-sharing talks end without a deal

LEEDS CASTLE, England — High-pressure talks among rival Northern Ireland parties ended yesterday with no agreement to revive a Catholic-Protestant administration, but British Prime Minister Tony Blair insisted that a deal “historic in its meaning” may yet be achieved.

As tired delegations departed from Leeds Castle, the magnificent moat-encircled venue for talks that began Thursday, most factions suggested that the outlawed Irish Republican Army now holds the initiative.

A statement from the underground group, expected to detail its conditions for disarming fully and renouncing violence, may come within a week.

Without sufficiently clear-cut commitments, the Democratic Unionist Party insists it will never share power with Sinn Fein, the IRA-linked party that represents most of the north’s Irish Catholics.

PAKISTAN

Prisoners return from Guantanamo

ISLAMABAD — Thirty-five Pakistani prisoners released from U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba returned home yesterday, a senior Interior Ministry official said.

Pakistani authorities detained the men for questioning after they arrived at a Pakistani air base near the capital, Islamabad, said Brig. Javed Iqbal Cheema, director-general of the National Crisis Management Cell at the Interior Ministry.

AFGHANISTAN

U.S. apologizes for killing civilian

KABUL — The U.S. military apologized yesterday for the death of a young Afghan civilian near where American-led troops were battling militants in a Taliban stronghold of southern Afghanistan.

One male juvenile was killed and another wounded Friday in Uruzgan province, spokesman Maj. Scott Nelson said. “The coalition deeply regrets and apologizes for” the casualties.

CUBA

Ex-Spanish leader wants prisoners freed

PRAGUE — Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar called for the release of dozens of inmates in Cuba, charging they’re political prisoners held “simply because they have a different opinion from the official line.”

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