- The Washington Times - Friday, December 22, 2000

EU proposes deal on U.S. debt to U.N.

NEW YORK The European Union has proposed that the United States, which owes the United Nations more than $1.5 billion, get a cut in its dues payments if it cleans up arrears within three years, France said yesterday.

Racing against the clock, the U.N. General Assembly's finance committee is trying to restructure contributions for 189 nations to both the $1 billion annual U.N. administrative budget as well as a fluctuating peacekeeping budget, expected to be more than $3 billion a year.

French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte, whose country is the current EU president, said the 15-nation alliance agreed to lower U.S. regular budget dues from 25 percent to 22 percent and peacekeeping from 30 percent to about 26 percent or 27 percent.

Turkish inmates defy call to surrender

ANKARA, Turkey Left-wing prisoners defied a call to surrender yesterday, vowing to fight until "death or victory" as soldiers lobbed tear gas grenades through holes drilled in the roof in an attempt to end a three-day prison siege.

The 435 inmates in an Istanbul prison are the last group to hold out after 158 prisoners in another penitentiary gave up yesterday afternoon.

Soldiers found guns, computers and mobile phones in some recently captured prison wards, and some Turks began to question how their country allowed radical inmates so much power inside prison walls.

Hutu rebel base dismantled by Rwanda

NAIROBI, Kenya The Rwandan army has successfully attacked and dismantled a Hutu rebel base in neighboring Congo and freed more than 600 civilians held by the rebels since 1994, a senior official said yesterday.

The rebels at the base fled Rwanda after taking part in the 1994 genocide, in which more than 500,000 minority Tutsis and politically centrist Hutus died in government-orchestrated massacres.

For the past 10 days, the Rwandan army had been tracking them in the Masisi forests along Congo's eastern borders.

De Beers offers help in 'blood diamond' fight

JOHANNESBURG World diamond giant De Beers said yesterday it is willing to allow its specialists to work for the United Nations to bolster the fight against "blood diamonds."

The offer followed a U.N. report on Wednesday that said the South African firm had to "accept some responsibility" for the trade in illicit diamonds that has fanned brutal African wars from Angola and Sierra Leone to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"We are prepared to make De Beers experts at the disposal of the U.N. particularly to help in the strengthening of a global certification scheme," De Beers spokesman Andy Lamont told Reuters.

Sanctions end run by UNITA charged

NEW YORK Rebels with the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) have managed to circumvent U.N. sanctions through a network of arms traffickers, friendly African governments and diamond smugglers who use tax havens to get their gems to market, a U.N. report said yesterday.

The report by a U.N.-appointed panel detailed for the first time the critical role played by air transport companies in the sanctions-busting enterprise, reportedly bringing the rebels the weapons they need to make war via third countries.

The 63-page paper is a follow-up to a groundbreaking expose in March that accused the presidents of Burkina Faso and Togo of accepting "blood diamonds" from UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi in exchange for illegal arms and fuel shipments.

Quebec separatists split on Holocaust

MONTREAL Comments about Jews by a hard-line separatist have revealed a political split in Quebec's governing Parti Quebecois, which wants sovereignty for the province.

Yves Michaud, 70, who wants to run as the party's candidate in a special election next year in a Francophone district of Montreal, was condemned by the provincial legislature last week for his statement on a radio show perceived as trivializing the Holocaust.

Mr. Michaud said Jews seemed to believe they were "the only people in the world to have suffered in the history of humankind."

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