- The Washington Times - Friday, January 26, 2007

AFGHANISTAN

NATO allies urged to boost troops

BRUSSELS — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday urged United States’ NATO allies to do more in Afghanistan, pledging more U.S. troops and aid while warning of a “dangerous and bloody spring” offensive from an emboldened Taliban.

But U.S. frustration at what Washington sees as a lack of commitment by European partners was unlikely to have been assuaged at a meeting in Brussels, with few signs of concrete new commitments from U.S. allies and an announcement by the European Union’s executive of a decrease in its aid from 2007 to 2010.

The Pentagon announced Thursday it was extending tours of 3,200 troops in Afghanistan. Taken with other troop movements, the move will add 2,500 soldiers in coming months when insurgents are expected to mount a new offensive.

Miss Rice separately announced plans for $8.6 billion to train and equip the Afghan army and police, and $2 billion for reconstruction.

ITALY

Judge orders seizure of CIA agent’s villa

ROME — An Italian magistrate has ordered the seizure of a villa owned by former Milan CIA station chief Robert Seldon Lady, a key suspect in the 2003 kidnapping of a Muslim cleric, judicial sources said yesterday.

The seizure order for Mr. Lady’s villa in the Piedmont region of northern Italy was made at the request of prosecutors to guarantee payment of any court costs and compensation for possible crimes.

Mr. Lady is one of 32 suspects, most believed to be CIA agents, accused of abducting Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, from a Milan street and sending him to Egypt, where he says he was tortured. An Italian judge heard arguments earlier this month on whether to indict the suspects and put them on trial.

UNITED NATIONS

Assembly condemns Holocaust denial

NEW YORK — The U.N. General Assembly yesterday condemned denials of the Holocaust in a U.S.-drafted resolution responding to a Tehran conference dominated by speakers questioning the extermination of 6 million Jews in World War II.

The measure, co-sponsored by more than 100 countries, including all Western nations as well as Rwanda, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, was approved by consensus, without a vote. Iran disassociated itself from the action, calling the resolution a political exercise Israel would exploit against Palestinians.

But at least 22 nations left their seats empty in the assembly hall, including Bolivia, Chile and Colombia, who were also co-sponsors. Others not attending or sponsoring included Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, and even Cambodia, itself a victim of genocide, U.S. officials said.

GEORGIA

Russia raps jailing in uranium case

MOSCOW — Georgia’s imprisonment of a Russian citizen for attempting to sell 3.5 ounces of weapons-grade uranium was a “provocation,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov charged yesterday.

“We would have preferred for this issue to be resolved by experts,” Mr. Lavrov told the RIA Novosti news agency. “Despite what Georgia says, experts from our FSB and Rosatom met this man, who could say nothing coherent.”

FSB, the successor to the KGB, is Russia’s security service, and Rosatom refers to Russia’s nuclear energy agency.

Georgia’s security services arrested Oleg Khintsagov as he tried to sell the enriched uranium in the sting operation last year, Georgia officials said earlier this week.

Mr. Khintsagov, who comes from the province of North Ossetia in southern Russia, was sentenced to eight years prison in June and three Georgian nationals were also arrested in the operation, he added.

CANADA

Arar gets apology, cash compensation

TORONTO — Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized yesterday to a Syrian-born Canadian and announced a compensation package of $8.9 million for Ottawa’s role in his deportation by U.S. authorities to Damascus, where he reportedly was tortured and imprisoned for nearly a year.

Mr. Harper again called on the U.S. government to remove Maher Arar from its no-fly and terrorist watch lists.

The engineer was detained at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport in 2002 during a stopover on his way home to Canada from a vacation with his family in Tunisia. The United States turned him over to Syria, where he said he was tortured and kept in a dark cell for nearly a year.

BRITAIN

Royals reporter jailed for phone hacking

LONDON — A British tabloid journalist who hacked into royal officials’ voice mail was sentenced yesterday to four months in prison. His editor resigned.

The judge said he had no option but to give a prison sentence to Clive Goodman, the royals editor of the News of the World. Goodman’s accomplice, private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, 36, was sentenced to six months in prison.

LEBANON

Hezbollah buries dead, urges unity

BEIRUT — The Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah and its allies held funerals yesterday for three activists killed during sectarian clashes in Beirut and called for unity among the Lebanese to stop their country from sliding to civil war.

The Lebanese army lifted a curfew in Beirut, but schools and universities were closed a day after Sunni-Shi’ite violence killed four persons and injured about 200. The Sunni Future group said the fourth victim was one of its activists.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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