- The Washington Times - Friday, February 27, 2009

KOSOVO

Serbian president cleared of crimes

THE HAGUE | U.N. judges on Thursday acquitted former Serbian President Milan Milutinovic of ordering a deadly campaign of terror against Kosovo Albanians, and ordered him released from custody.

However, the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal convicted five other senior Serbs and gave them prison sentences of between 15 and 22 years. It was the court’s first judgment for Serbian crimes in Kosovo.

Mr. Milutinovic’s acquittal was a blow to prosecutors who three years ago lost their chance of convicting former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic of similar crimes when he died of a heart attack before his trial ended.

AFGHANISTAN

EU: Bagram no substitute for Gitmo

BRUSSELS | The United States must not allow its Bagram military base in Afghanistan to become a new Guantanamo Bay if it wants European Union help to close the prison in Cuba, EU officials said Thursday.

In one of his first acts in office, President Obama ordered the closure within one year of Guantanamo Bay, where about 245 people are still detained and which has been widely viewed as a stain on the U.S. human rights record.

Mr. Obama has yet to decide what to do about the jail at Bagram, where more than 600 prisoners are held, or whether to continue work on a $60 million prison complex there.

A confidential EU policy paper, obtained by Reuters, said such help would depend on Washington’s overall anti-terrorism policies, including assurances that Bagram or other camps would not become new Guantanamos.

KUWAIT

Visit to Iraq boosts reconciliation

BAGHDAD | Kuwait’s deputy prime minister visited Iraq on Thursday in the highest-level visit by a Kuwaiti official since Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of the Gulf neighbor.

The talks came as Kuwait celebrated the 18th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion that drove out Saddam’s forces and left American warplanes patrolling parts of Iraqi airspace for more than a decade.

Sheik Mohammed Al Sabah, who also is Kuwait’s foreign minister, is the latest high-profile Arab envoy to accept Baghdad’s offer for better regional cooperation. Kuwait and several other mostly Sunni Arab nations have restored diplomatic ties but remain wary of the Shi’ite-led government’s relations with Iran.

NETHERLANDS

Engine trouble suspected in crash

AMSTERDAM | Engine trouble may be behind the Turkish Airlines crash that killed nine people in the Netherlands, the head of the agency investigating the accident said Thursday.

Pieter van Vollenhoven said, in remarks quoted by Dutch state television NOS, that the Boeing 747-800 plane had fallen almost directly from the sky, which pointed toward the plane’s engines having stalled.

He said a reason for that had not yet been established.

Spokeswoman Sandra Groenendal of the Dutch Safety Authority confirmed that NOS had reported Mr. Vollenhoven’s remarks accurately.

ITALY

Holocaust skeptic sorry for remarks

ROME | A Catholic news agency says that a British bishop who had denied the Holocaust has apologized for his remarks.

Bishop Richard Williamson was shown in a Swedish state TV interview saying historical evidence indicates there were no Nazi gas chambers.

Days later Pope Benedict XVI lifted a 20-year-old excommunication decree imposed on Williamson and three other bishops who had been consecrated without Vatican approval.

The Zenit Catholic news agency said Thursday that Williamson expressed regret for the statements. “Before God I apologize,” the bishop said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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