- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 15, 2011

LIBYA

Prime minister offers U.N. truce, seeks NATO cease-fire

TRIPOLI | Moammar Gadhafi’s prime minister on Sunday offered on a truce to the visiting U.N. special envoy to Libya, Abdul-Ilah al-Khatib, in return for an immediate NATO cease-fire, as an anti-regime civil war entered a fourth month.

Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmudi said after meeting Mr. Khatib that Libya is keen for “an immediate cease-fire to coincide with a stop to the NATO bombardment and the acceptance of international observers,” the JANA state news agency reported.

Libya the country, he added, is committed to the unity of its territory and people and that Libyans had the right to “decide on their internal affairs and political system through democratic dialogue away from the bombing threat.”

PAKISTAN

Kerry first top-level visitor since killing of bin Laden

ISLAMABAD | Sen. John Kerry arrived in Islamabad on Sunday for talks with Pakistani leaders at what he earlier warned was a “critical moment” for relations after the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee landed two days after Pakistan’s parliament insisted there must be no repeat of the secret commando operation that killed bin Laden and that U.S. drone strikes on extremists in its territory must end.

Mr. Kerry, the first senior U.S. visitor since the death of the al Qaeda terrorist leader, is scheduled to meet President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to discuss “bilateral relations and regional issues.”

TUNISIA

Police arrest first suspects of al Qaeda Africa group

TUNIS | Tunisia said Sunday it has arrested an Algerian and a Libyan in possession of explosives in the country’s first arrests of suspected members of al Qaeda’s north African offshoot.

The two men were detained in Nekrif, a town in the southern Tataouine region 80 miles from the Libyan border, officials said.

Tunisian Interior Minister Habib Essid identified the Algerian as Abou Muslum, 31, and the Libyan as 32-year-old Abou Batine.

EGYPT

Foreign minister to head Arab League during turmoil

CAIRO | Arab states picked Egypt’s foreign minister on Sunday to lead the Arab League during a period of unprecedented turmoil in the region and after last-minute diplomacy left only one candidate in the race.

Nabil Elaraby, nominated shortly before foreign ministers confirmed his appointment, takes over from Amr Moussa, another former Egyptian foreign minister who led the 22-nation Cairo-based body for 10 years. Qatar had withdrawn its nominee.

Mr. Elaraby, appointed foreign minister after Hosni Mubarak was ousted, has carved a new diplomatic track for Egypt since becoming minister. He has been a tougher critic of Israel and more supportive of Palestinians. He has also offered an opening to Iran.

MEXICO

Police unearth more in mass graves

MEXICO CITY | Mexican security forces said have discovered another 17 bodies in mass graves found last month in the northern state of Durango.

The discovery brings the number of bodies recently unearthed in Durango to 218. That total eclipses the 183 bodies found in pits last month in Tamaulipas.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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