- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 2, 2005

RUSSIA

ABC blacklisted over interview

MOSCOW — Russia’s Foreign Ministry said yesterday it will not renew permission for ABC-TV to operate in the country after the network broadcast an interview with a notorious Chechen warlord, Shamil Basayev.

The ministry said ABC would be considered “undesirable” by all Russian state agencies because of the interview broadcast last week on “Nightline.”

In Washington, State Department spokesman Tom Casey said any decision that limited ABC’s operations in Russia would be regrettable.

Basayev has claimed responsibility for some of Russia’s most terrifying terrorist attacks, including last year’s hostage seizure at the school in Beslan, which ended in the deaths of more than 330 children and adults.

NORTH KOREA

Six-party talks hit critical stage

BEIJING — Chinese mediators yesterday submitted two new drafts of a statement of principles as regional negotiations on ending North Korea’s nuclear-weapons programs go down to the wire.

North Korean chief negotiator Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan, in his first public comments after eight days of talks, said Pyongyang wanted to narrow its differences with Washington, but insisted U.S. forces in the region constituted a threat to the regime.

Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill and other U.S. officials were more upbeat, saying the drafting work showed all sides were still pressing for a deal. South Korea, Japan and Russia are also participating in the talks.

EUROPEAN UNION

France wants Turkey to recognize Cyprus

PARIS — France raised a potential new hurdle yesterday to Turkey starting European Union membership talks in October, saying Ankara must first recognize Cyprus.

The executive European Commission and EU President Britain said the 25 EU states had never made recognition a prerequisite for opening negotiations and the Cyprus question should be dealt with separately in a U.N. framework.

A Turkish official said the call by French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin was an attempt to violate commitments the EU had made to Ankara last year, but Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said he still expected France’s support.

BRITAIN

Fire on bus leads to security alert

LONDON — A fire on a bus sparked a security alert in central London yesterday, but police gave the all clear after establishing that the blaze was not caused by a bomb.

Britain has been on a state of high alert since July 7, when suicide bombers killed 52 persons with four blasts on the capital’s transit network. A series of similar attacks two weeks later, when the bombs failed to explode, have kept London’s 7 million population on edge.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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