- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 19, 2001

Helms warms to Mexico
MEXICO CITY — No voice in Washington is more critical of Mexico than that of Sen. Jesse Helms. So the vision of the dour senator posing, smiling and trading jokes with Mexicos foreign minister — a man he once denounced as a communist — seemed surreal.
But it was real, all right. Mr. Helms talked of "a future of cooperation, friendship, mutual respect" as he and other members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee met yesterday with their Mexican counterparts for the first time.
The North Carolina Republican also played down his past attacks, suggesting that democratic change in Mexico — where Vicente Fox in July became the first opposition candidate ever to win the presidency — had helped change his attitude.

Kosovo bomb kills one, injures four
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia — A bomb went off yesterday near Yugoslav government offices in Kosovos capital, killing one Serb and injuring four others.
International officials condemned the attack in Pristina as they searched for witnesses and a motive.
Yugoslav authorities blamed ethnic Albanian rebels and demanded action by the United Nations and NATO-led peacekeepers.

War crimes suspect pleads not guilty
THE HAGUE — A Bosnian Serb commander accused of unleashing a weeklong rampage in Srebrenica that killed thousands of Muslims pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of complicity in genocide and war crimes.
Col. Dragan Obrenovic also is accused of trying to cover up the largest massacre in Europe since World War II by exhuming the bodies of victims and reburying them in mass graves.
Col. Obrenovic, 38, made his first appearance before the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia since his arrest Sunday in Zvornik, Bosnia-Herzegovina, by NATO-led peacekeeping forces.

Andes leaders meet ahead of trade talks
CARTAGENA, Colombia — Andean presidents and ministers looked to bolster their leverage at this weekends Summit of the Americas, meeting yesterday to coordinate free-trade proposals and seek U.S. trade benefits for stemming the regions drug trade.
Presidents Andres Pastrana of Colombia, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Hugo Banzer of Bolivia, Gustavo Noboa of Ecuador, and Perus foreign minister, Javier Perez de Cuellar, were hoping to join forces ahead of the hemispherewide summit beginning tomorrow in Quebec.
During the three-day summit to be attended by President Bush in Quebec City, 34 nations from South America to Canada will debate a proposed hemispherewide free-trade zone.


Benin begins probe of suspected slave ship
COTONOU, Benin — Police began an investigation yesterday into a ship that sparked a multination search for hundreds of suspected child slaves along the western coast of Africa.
The Nigerian-registered MV Etireno, which U.N. and local officials originally thought left Benin two weeks ago with 100 to 250 children destined for the slave trade, docked in Cotonou on Tuesday, but more adults than children were aboard.
The vessel first grabbed world headlines last Thursday when government officials in Benin announced that a ship loaded with child slaves had been turned away from two African ports and was headed back to Cotonou.
The ships Nigerian captain, Lawrence Onome, denies he was trafficking child slaves and says he has nothing to hide.

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