- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 30, 2000

Fujimori accused of retrial cave-in

LIMA, Peru Peruvian politicians and newspapers accused President Alberto Fujimori yesterday of caving in to foreign pressure after a court granted a civilian retrial for Lori Berenson, a U.S. woman jailed for life as a Marxist rebel.

Newspapers that normally toe government lines slammed Mr. Fujimori for allowing a military court to overturn a ruling that the United States and human rights groups had said was unfair. Washington repeatedly has called for a new civilian trial.

The Peruvian president was also criticized by opposition politicians and some from his own Peru 2000 alliance.

South Korean team in North for talks

SEOUL A five-member government delegation from South Korea traveled to North Korea yesterday for three days of high-level talks on easing tensions between the two countries, Seoul officials said.

The talks, the second since late last month, aim to follow up on an accord reached at a historic summit in June, when leaders of the two Koreas pledged to work together to promote peace and eventual reunification.

The unprecedented summit between the two Koreas provided the best hope yet for peace on the divided peninsula, the world's last Cold War frontier.

German church plans own Nazi-era fund

MAINZ, Germany Germany's Catholic Church said yesterday it would pay $2.3 million to compensate Nazi-era forced laborers, but its decision to shun the main government-backed fund drew instant criticism.

Bishop Karl Lehmann, the head of Germany's 27 million Catholics, said people forced to work by Catholic institutions during the Third Reich were expressly excluded from a $4.6 billion fund set up this year by the state and German companies.

The church had therefore decided to pay the equivalent of $2.3 million to the forced laborers it admits using, and to donate a further $2.3 million to boost reconciliation efforts in Eastern Europe, Bishop Lehmann told a news conference after a bishops meeting in Mainz.

Slav firm signs Iraq oil pact

MOSCOW A Russian-Belorussian oil company has signed an agreement with Iraq to develop a billion-barrel oil field, a company official said yesterday.

The contract between Iraq and the Slavneft oil company was signed in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. It will take full effect only if the sanctions that the United Nations imposed against Iraq after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait are lifted, the Slavneft official said. He spoke on the customary condition of anonymity.

Officials from Slavneft and Iraq also discussed work under the U.N. oil-for-food program, which allows Iraq limited oil exports to buy food, medicine and other necessities.

Chevenement quits French Cabinet post

PARIS In a move opponents claim could weaken the ruling coalition, France's interior minister resigned yesterday in open disagreement with the Socialist-led government over a peace plan for violence-wracked Corsica.

It was the third time that Jean-Pierre Chevenement has resigned from a ministerial post, in keeping with the character of the man who once said, "A minister shuts his mouth or resigns."

Prime Minister Lionel Jospin named Daniel Vaillant, 51, the Socialist minister for parliamentary relations, to replace Mr. Chevenement, who served for three years as interior minister. Mr. Vaillant is known to be part of Mr. Jospin's inner circle.

Lockerbie defense plays CIA card

CAMP ZEIST, Netherlands Defense lawyers in the Lockerbie trial said yesterday that the CIA may be concealing evidence in the 1988 bombing of a New York-bound jumbo jet.

They asked Scottish judges hearing the case to put the matter before U.S. justice authorities. If the judges agree, it will further delay the appearance of the prosecution's star witness, a Libyan former CIA informant.

The Libyan double agent, identified as Abdul Majid Giaka, was scheduled to appear early last week in the trial of Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, who are said to have been Libyan intelligence agents working on the Mediterranean island of Malta. They are accused of planting the bomb that exploded on Pan Am Flight 103, killing 270 persons in the air and on the ground over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988.

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