- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 2, 2000

European allies wary of missile defense

Javier Solana, the European Union's foreign policy chief, said yesterday the European allies are not yet convinced a U.S. missile defense would protect their security and not antagonize Russia.
Here for a round of talks with senior administration officials, Mr. Solana said the Europeans would like to see an agreement with Moscow as well as a debate on the merits of the missile defense program before President Clinton goes ahead.
"If you have the technology to prevent a risk, it is difficult not to do it," Mr. Solana told reporters of the prospective expensive U.S. program. "But you have to weigh that with the consequences."
Mr. Clinton has not announced a decision, but administration officials have left little doubt he will approve a limited defense against missiles using new radar and 100 missile launchers.

No progress in Mideast talks

EILAT, Israel Israeli officials, trying to improve the climate in peace talks after a bungled start, said yesterday they've resigned themselves to Palestinian statehood. The Palestinians acknowledged Israel's pain on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Despite such goodwill gestures, negotiators reported little progress and awaited the arrival of a U.S. mediator today to help draft an outline of a final peace treaty.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said he would declare statehood sometime after Sept. 13, the deadline for the treaty itself, regardless of whether he had reached agreement with Israel by then on the terms of independence.
Israeli officials said they would not oppose a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but said the Palestinians should accept that some Jewish settlements there will become part of Israel.

Mortar attack hits police headquarters

TEHRAN Mortar shells exploded near Iran's national police headquarters in central Tehran last night, wounding six persons, witnesses and state-run Tehran radio said.
Iran's state television said three mortars exploded near a sports complex in Tehran's Vanak Square. But sources in the area said several mortars had landed at the headquarters of the national police forces. Other mortar shells hit a nearby Armenian club and landed in the street.
The rebel Mojahiden Khalq claimed responsibility for the attack in a call to the Associated Press in Cairo. Spokesman Farid Soleimani said the police, known as the State Security Forces, were the intended target.

Haider steps down as Freedom Party head

VIENNA, Austria Joerg Haider, the leader of Austria's far-right Freedom Party stepped down yesterday after 14 years as party leader and several months of international and domestic protest against his party's inclusion in government.
Vice Chancellor Susanne Riess-Passer was elected as Mr. Haider's replacement by an overwhelming majority. Mr. Haider had announced he was stepping down in February, but the official change of office did not take place until the party's congress, held yesterday in Klagenfurt, the capital of Carinthia, where Mr. Haider serves as governor.
In a 1 and 1/2-hour speech to the congress, Mr. Haider called for unity in the party under Mrs. Reiss-Passer's direction.

Pham Van Dong dies in Hanoi

HANOI Pham Van Dong, who served as Vietnam's prime minister through three decades of war and reunification, died a day before the 25th anniversary of the Communists' biggest victory, government officials said yesterday. He was 94.
Mr. Dong, an architect of the Communist revolution who combined personal charm with political toughness, had been hospitalized on life support for months before his death Saturday, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity.
The officials said Mr. Dong died at a Hanoi hospital. With no newspapers yesterday because of the May Day holiday, Mr. Dong's death was to expected to be officially announced today.

* From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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