- The Washington Times - Monday, April 11, 2005

OAS deadlocks on new leader

A special meeting of the Organization of American States was unable to elect a new secretary-general yesterday as the Chilean and Mexican candidates received 17 votes each on three secret ballots.

The voting matched Chilean Interior Minister Jose Miguel Insulza against Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez.

About 15 foreign ministers were on hand for the balloting at OAS headquarters. Most of the remaining countries were represented by their respective ambassadors.

NETHERLANDS

Explanation sought for halted flight

AMSTERDAM — Two Dutch lawmakers demanded an explanation yesterday of why a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight with 278 passengers on board was forced by U.S. authorities to turn around near the Canadian border and fly back to the Netherlands.

The airline said its Amsterdam to Mexico City flight Friday was refused permission to fly over U.S. airspace at the last minute and was told two passengers were a security risk.

The passengers, whose names and nationalities weren’t released, were not on shared European-U.S. no-fly lists, KLM said. The passengers were not suspected of any crime and went on their way after arriving back in the Netherlands.

KYRGYZSTAN

Parliament accepts president’s resignation

BISHKEK — The Kyrgyz parliament yesterday accepted the resignation of ousted President Askar Akayev, clearing the way for presidential elections this summer and giving a stamp of legitimacy to the country’s interim leadership.

The legislators voted 38-2 to “suspend Askar Akayev’s presidential powers in connection with his offer of resignation.” Three of the 60 lawmakers present abstained. The others did not vote, but it was not immediately clear why.

Mr. Akayev fled the country amid a popular uprising 2 weeks ago. Legislators initially rejected Mr. Akayev’s April 4 offer to step down, arguing it was too dignified an exit for the disgraced leader.

FRANCE

Prosecutors demand jail over killing

PARIS — French prosecutors yesterday demanded a jail sentence of nine years for a suspected Islamist militant, accused of helping the al Qaeda operatives who killed Afghan resistance leader Ahmed Shah Masood.

Seven suspected militants are on trial in France, four of them charged with providing funds or forged documents to the two militants who killed Mr. Masood two days before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Three suspects are on trial for running paramilitary training camps. The seven men are of Moroccan, Tunisian and Algerian origin, but some have French citizenship.

EGYPT

Bazaar bomb exploded early

CAIRO — A bomb that killed three tourists in a Cairo bazaar last week exploded prematurely, the Egyptian Interior Ministry said yesterday, suggesting that it might not have been a deliberate suicide operation.

The bomber was an engineering student born in 1987 who had begun to take an interest in the ideas of militant Islamists, the ministry said in a statement.

It named the bomber as Hassan Rafaat Ahmed Bishindi, who lived in the northern Cairo suburb of Shubra el-Kheima and went to the Benha branch of Zagazig University in the east of the Nile Delta.

The explosion on Thursday killed a French woman, a French man and an American man, as well as the bomber.

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