- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 18, 2005

ISRAEL

Imprisoned spy unhappy with visit

JERUSALEM — Jonathan Pollard, serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison for spying for Israel, denounced his first visit yesterday from an Israeli ambassador as “disgusting,” his wife said.

Pollard has been in prison for 20 years after his arrest outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Esther Pollard said the visit by Ambassador Daniel Ayalon was designed only to make it appear as if Israel’s government is working for his release.

“The meeting was empty of content … disgusting and disappointing,” she quoted Pollard as saying in remarks on Israeli radio. Pollard has said for years that the Israeli government has not done enough to win his release.

VENEZUELA

Ministry signs deal for Russian arms

CARACAS — Venezuela purchased 100,000 Russian-made automatic rifles yesterday in a deal that has heightened U.S. concern over political stability in the region.

An initial $27 million payment would cover half of the contract for the Kalashnikov AK-103 rifles as Venezuela upgrades its military, said Defense Minister Jorge Garcia Carneiro.

The accord is part of efforts by President Hugo Chavez, a staunch opponent of U.S. foreign policy, to shift Venezuela away from its military reliance on the United States with arms purchases from Russia, Spain and Brazil.

CANADA

Opposition leader joins government

OTTAWA — A top member of Canada’s opposition Conservatives unexpectedly defected to the ruling Liberals yesterday, giving the minority government of Prime Minister Paul Martin a better chance of surviving a crucial budget vote this week.

Belinda Stronach, a leader in the Conservative Party, joined Mr. Martin’s Cabinet as the minister of human resources and will vote with the government on the federal budget tomorrow.

The Liberals and their allies now have 152 legislators in the House of Commons, compared with 152 for the Conservatives and the separatist Bloc Quebecois, leaving the government’s fate in the hands of two undecided independent members.

UZBEKISTAN

Death toll numbers vary greatly

ANDIJAN — The government and opposition leaders yesterday offered widely diverging death tolls and accounts of the violence in this U.S.-allied Central Asian country. The top prosecutor said 169 terrorists and troops were killed, but opposition activists maintained that more than 700 died — most of them civilians.

Prosecutor-General Rashid Kadyrov and President Islam Karimov held a press conference in the capital, Tashkent, blaming suspected Islamic militants for last week’s unrest and denying that government forces fatally shot any civilians.

“Only terrorists were liquidated by government forces,” the prosecutor said, adding that militants killed several hostages and civilians.

INDONESIA

Ministry joins China on missile program

JAKARTA — Indonesia and China will work together to develop short-range guided missiles as ties between the two large Asian countries improve, the official Antara news agency reported yesterday.

Research and Technology Minister Kusmayanto Kadiman said the idea had been around since 2002, but was only made concrete when Chinese President Hu Jintao met President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Jakarta last month.

The missile agreement would be signed when Mr. Yudhoyono visits China in June or July, Mr. Kadiman said.

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