President Zardari takes trip as tensions rise

ISLAMABAD | Pakistan’s president left the country Thursday for what was described as a one-day private visit to Dubai, officials said during a deepening crisis between the government and the powerful military.

Early last month, President Asif Ali Zardari traveled to Dubai for medical treatment, triggering rumors that he was either being pushed out by the army or was fleeing an attempted coup.

He returned after a few weeks, but tensions have continued to soar, with critics gleefully predicting the government’s imminent downfall.

The officials said the trip is unconnected to the crisis. They said the president would attend a wedding in Dubai and would be back Friday.


Tokyo vows to reduce Iranian oil imports

TOKYO | Japan pledged Thursday to buy less Iranian oil, boosting the U.S. campaign to sanction Iran over its nuclear program even as China and Turkey react coolly to the effort.

Iran’s “nuclear development problem can’t be ignored by the world, so from that perspective we understand the U.S. actions,” Finance Minister Jun Azumi told reporters after meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, who was visiting Tokyo after two days in Beijing.

Japan imports about 10 percent of its oil from Iran, Mr. Azumi said.

“We plan to start reducing this 10 percent share as soon as possible in an orderly manner,” he said.

Japan’s quick agreement contrasts with China’s public silence on the matter during Mr. Geithner’s visit.


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