- The Washington Times - Friday, September 5, 2008

INDIA

Accord likely in nuke group talks

VIENNA, Austria | Nations that export nuclear equipment and technology edged closer to a compromise Thursday on a contentious U.S. plan to sell peaceful atomic technology to India despite its longtime refusal to sign global nonproliferation accords.

The talks, brokered by the Nuclear Suppliers Group, resume Friday. Washington was scrambling to salvage a deal that opponents fear will undermine efforts to discourage the production of weapons of mass destruction.

India has tested atomic weapons, but has refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or other international agreements. As a result, nuclear trade with New Delhi has been outlawed since 1974.

An initial round of talks on the plan last month ended in deadlock after more than a dozen opposing countries argued against reversing more than three decades of U.S. policy outlawing the sale of nuclear material to India for civilian use.

IRAQ

2 U.S. soldiers killed in Baghdad

BAGHDAD | A roadside bomb killed two American soldiers patrolling eastern Baghdad on Thursday, the U.S. military said.

The casualties were the first suffered by the American military in the capital since Aug. 28 when a soldier was killed in a roadside bombing. Another soldier died Tuesday in Baghdad of non-hostile causes, the military said.

Also on Thursday, the U.S. military arrested an Iraqi cameraman and three of his family members during a raid on their home in Baghdad, an official with Baghdad TV said. The arrest comes two days after American and Iraqi forces detained a free-lance photographer for the Reuters news agency south of Baghdad.

SYRIA

Israel offered peace proposal

DAMASCUS | Syria’s leader said Thursday he offered a proposal for peace with Israel but refused to break off ties with Hezbollah and militant Palestinians - a key Israeli demand.

President Bashar Assad also said indirect negotiations with Israel were on hold until that country chooses a new prime minister and that direct talks would have to wait until a new U.S. president takes office.

Mr. Assad’s comments came after meetings with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and regional mediators in talks focusing on Mideast peace and Iran’s nuclear program.

Mr. Assad and Mr. Sarkozy were joined Thursday in a four-way summit by Turkey’s prime minister and the leader of Qatar, a key broker in inter-Arab disputes, to discuss Mideast stability and peace.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Helicopter strikes oil rig; 7 dead

DUBAI | A helicopter carrying foreign contractors crashed into an oil platform off the coast of Dubai, killing all seven people on board and halting production in one of the emirate’s four offshore oil fields, officials said Thursday.

The Bell 212 helicopter crashed at 8:23 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Emirates’ Civil Aviation Authority. It was carrying workers to a recently installed jackup rig owned by A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S but operated by oil field service provider Petrofac Ltd. on behalf of state-owned Dubai Petroleum Co., the companies said.

The victims included a citizen each from the United States, United Kingdom, Pakistan, the Philippines and Venezuela, as well as two Indians, Emirati aviation authorities said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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