- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 10, 2005

AZERBAIJAN

Two governors fired over vote count

BAKU — President Ilham Aliyev fired two regional governors for interfering with the count from last weekend’s parliamentary elections, his office said yesterday after thousands of demonstrators crammed a square in Baku to protest purported vote fraud.

The governors of the Surakhani and Sabirabad regions were ousted amid international criticism of the balloting.

Thousands of people rallied in the capital to demand free elections, answering a call by the opposition movement after Sunday’s parliamentary balloting that international observers said did not meet democratic standards.

NORTH KOREA

Six-party talks on nukes begin

BEIJING — A fresh round of six-nation talks on North Korea’s nuclear disarmament began yesterday with Washington and Pyongyang struggling to agree on when the North will disarm and how it will be rewarded.

Delegates from the two Koreas, the United States, Japan, Russia and host China met to decide how to proceed with actions proposed in a joint statement issued during the last round in September.

Although American and North Korean negotiators held a bilateral meeting and ate dinner together, both sides appeared unwilling to budge from their positions.

EGYPT

Mubarak’s party set to win election

CAIRO — Egyptians voted yesterday in the first stage of legislative elections expected to make minor inroads in the domination of parliament by President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party.

The elections are especially important this year because they could decide who can run to be president of the Arab world’s most populous nation at any time up to 2010.

SUDAN

U.S. official urges action on peace deal

KHARTOUM — Sudan must fully implement an 11-month-old peace deal in the south and stop bloodshed in Darfur if it wants U.S. support, a top U.S. official said yesterday.

In talks with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and other top officials, Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick urged the Islamist-led government to take concrete steps, such as redeploying troops in the south and backing peacekeepers in the Western region of Darfur, to show its commitment to peace.

IRAQ

Saddam attorneys cut court contact

RAMADI — Attorneys for Saddam Hussein and his aides severed all contact with the court trying the former Iraqi president yesterday after the killing of a second member of the defense team since the trial began last month.

The judge said the court was considering its response.

Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said he would not heed calls to move the trial abroad.

EUROPEAN UNION

Macedonia opens membership process

BRUSSELS — The European Union opened the door to Macedonia as a candidate state yesterday, hailing the ex-Yugoslav state as a “European success story” four years after it drew back from the brink of civil war.

Specifically, the European Commission recommended that Macedonia be accepted as a candidate by members of the 25-nation bloc while declining to forecast when the tiny Balkan country could start EU membership talks.

But its prime minister immediately said the decision was a “one-way ticket” to full membership of the rich European grouping.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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