- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 23, 2008

ZIMBABWE

Europe pressures Mugabe

JOHANNESBURG | Europe turned up pressure on Zimbabwe’s president to share power with the opposition, toughening sanctions Tuesday against Robert Mugabe just as his ruling party was to begin talks with its chief rival mediated by South Africa.

Mr. Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai met face-to-face Monday for the first time in 10 years and agreed to formal talks about power sharing after three months of state-sponsored electoral violence. The negotiations were expected to start either late Tuesday or Wednesday at an undisclosed location around the South African city of Johannesburg.

The EU agreed to expand its sanctions blacklist of people linked to Mr. Mugabe’s government to 172 people, adding 37 individuals and four companies believed to financially support Mr. Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party.

PAKISTAN

Top security officer to Zardari killed

KARACHI | Gunmen killed a senior security officer for Asif Ali Zardari, head of Pakistan’s ruling party, in the southern city of Karachi on Tuesday, police and party officials said.

Mr. Zardari is the widower of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed in a suicide gun and bomb attack in the city of Rawalpindi on Dec. 27 while campaigning for an election that her party subsequently won.

The security officer, Khalid Shehanshah, was a member of Mrs. Bhutto’s security escort on the day she was killed.

IRAQ

Election law passed as Kurds walk out

BAGHDAD | Iraq’s parliament passed a provincial elections bill Tuesday, but a walkout by Kurdish lawmakers over how to deal with the disputed oil city of Kirkuk could mean the law will not be ratified by the presidency.

Kurds make up one of three main groups, and their boycott of the vote means the bill could be sent back to parliament.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki wants the election to take place Oct. 1, but the Electoral Commission says it will not have time to organize it by then, even with the law in place.

AFGHANISTAN

Leader surrenders, one slain

KABUL | A senior Taliban leader has surrendered to Pakistani authorities and another insurgent commander was killed by a British air strike in southern Afghanistan, British officials announced Tuesday.

A spokesman at the British Defense Ministry in London said Mullah Rahim, the most senior Taliban leader in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, gave himself up to Pakistani officials Saturday. He also said a precision missile strike by British aircraft just after midnight Sunday killed Abdul Rasaq, a Taliban leader who led fighters in the Musa Qala area of Helmand province.

MEXICO

5 Koreans kidnapped

REYNOSA | Five South Koreans were kidnapped while driving in a Mexican border city and their captors are demanding $30,000 in ransom, police and embassy officials said Tuesday.

Gunmen seized the four men and one woman as they rode in a car July 14 in Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas, police said. The South Korean Yonhap news agency reported the captors falsely identified themselves as police, a common practice among criminals in Mexico.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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