- The Washington Times - Friday, February 16, 2001

U.N. set to deploy in Congo this month

LUSAKA, Zambia Zambia announced that U.N. troops would begin deploying in war-torn Congo on Feb. 26.

It is the same date that U.N. observers and Congo agreed upon for the start of internal talks to end the war.

But analysts said total peace still required a nod from defiant Rwandan President Maj. Gen. Paul Kagame, who boycotted yesterday's summit.

Zambian President Frederick Chiluba, host for the talks that led to the 1999 peace accords, announced the deployment of the long-delayed peacekeeping force.

"We welcome this move and we hope the United Nations will also move quickly on matters of disarmament in the Congo," Mr. Chiluba told a summit to revive the stalled peace process in Congo.

Sri Lankan leader sees peace closer

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga said yesterday Sri Lanka was closer to peace now than at any other time since it plunged into a bitter ethnic conflict 18 years ago.

"I can only say that this is the most hopeful situation since the war began," Mrs. Kumaratunga said in a television interview.

"We are ready to enter through the tiny door that has been opened," said Mrs. Kumaratunga, who earlier this month raised hopes of peace talks by announcing that Tamil rebels had made a "somewhat favorable response" to her invitation to negotiate.

Taleban is hailed as drug enforcer

JALALABAD, Afghanistan U.N. drug control officers said the Taleban religious militia has virtually wiped out opium production in Afghanistan once the world's largest producer since banning poppy cultivation in July.

A 12-member team from the U.N. Drug Control Program spent two weeks searching most of the nation's largest opium-producing areas and found so few poppies that they did not expect any opium to come out of Afghanistan this year.

"We are not just guessing. We have seen the proof in the fields," said Bernard Frahi, regional director for the U.N. program in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He laid out photographs of vast tracts of land cultivated with wheat alongside pictures of the same fields taken a year earlier a sea of blood-red poppies.

A State Department official said yesterday all the information the United States received so far indicated the poppy crop had decreased, but he did not believe it was eliminated.

Salvador rescuers seek blood donations

SAN SALVADOR Salvadoran rescue workers appealed for donors to supply blood yesterday as stocks were depleted two days after the tiny Central American nation's second devastating quake in a month killed at least 274 persons.

The 6.6-magnitude earthquake that ripped through El Salvador at breakfast time Tuesday shook down the brick and adobe walls of more than 15,000 homes east of the nation's capital, filling overstretched emergency rooms with head, chest and limb trauma patients.

More than 2,400 people were injured and scores of people were listed as missing following the quake in the impoverished coffee-exporting nation of 6.2 million.

Former terrorist jailed in Germany

FRANKFURT, Germany A former terrorist was convicted yesterday and sentenced to nine years in prison for a 1975 attack on a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna, Austria, after a trial that focused attention on some German leaders' radical pasts.

Hans-Joachim Klein was convicted on charges of hostage-taking and three counts each of murder and attempted murder in the attack believed to have been masterminded by Venezuelan terrorist Carlos the Jackal, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez.

The four-month trial revived memories of social unrest that rocked Germany 30 years ago and the role some present-day politicians played during it. Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, a former Klein friend, testified in the trial.

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