- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 26, 2005

GHANA

President, Alcoa sign aluminum deal

ACCRA — The government announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday with U.S.-based Alcoa to develop an integrated aluminum industry in the West African state. Ghana is a major source of bauxite, the primary element in aluminum.

Under the terms of the agreement, Alcoa will help Ghana upgrade its rail-transport infrastructure and expand its bauxite mining and aluminum production.

“This agreement paves the way for a strong public-private partnership that can help solidify long-term sustainable growth in Ghana,” President John Kufuor said at the signing ceremony.

“Development of an integrated aluminum industry can become a springboard for more value-added manufacturing in Ghana, creating better, higher-paying jobs,” he added. The agreement gives the government 90 percent of the Valco smelter, built in the port town of Tema under an earlier arrangement with Alcoa.

BURUNDI

Rebel holdouts can participate in vote

PRETORIA — South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma returned from a two-day visit to Burundi yesterday, saying that the country’s National Liberation Front, the only rebel group outside the Burundi peace process, could participate in elections, but he warned “the room for negotiation was very limited.”

In Bujumbura yesterday, presidential spokesman Pancrace Cimpaye said that contacts had already taken place with the National Liberation Front to establish a negotiating framework and that peace talks are expected to take place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Six of seven rebel movements have signed cease-fires, bringing permanent peace to the country still struggling to recover from an 11-year civil war that claimed more than 300,000 lives, and peace has been restored in 16 of the small country’s 17 provinces.

UNITED NATIONS

U.S. seeks new court for Darfur atrocities

NEW YORK — The United States is urging key U.N. Security Council members to create a court for perpetrators of atrocities and killings in Sudan’s Darfur region, setting itself up for a showdown with European members.

Senior diplomats said U.S. envoys raised the issue of a court again this week to avoid any referral by Europeans to the International Criminal Court, a tribunal the Bush administration vehemently opposes.

Despite disagreement over the court, Western envoys are frustrated by general inaction in the council as the Darfur conflict goes on, with new fighting last week that may have killed 150 civilians and displaced more than 9,000.

Weekly notes …

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi called yesterday on Iraqi terrorists to release a U.S. hostage, responding to the captive’s plea for his intervention. In a videotape broadcast a day earlier, Roy Hallums, 56, begged Arab leaders, singling out Col. Gadhafi, to save his life. The video showed him speaking with a rifle barrel pointed at his head. …

Students from impoverished Guinea-Bissau held their ambassador hostage in Moscow for a second day yesterday, saying they would refuse him food until the West African state pays funds it owes them.

“We are starving, along with the ambassador,” student Albert Densr told Reuters news agency. “It will be over when we get what we want.”

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