- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 21, 2001

Uganda to withdraw 1,000 from Cong

BUNIA, Congo Uganda will withdraw around 1,000 troops from the Democratic Republic of Congo in response to recent moves to end a war that has dragged in half a dozen African armies, senior military officials said Tuesday.

Brig. Gen. Wamala Katumba, the officer commanding Ugandan troops in Congo, said two battalions would return home by the end of next week.

Uganda is believed to have sent about 10,000 troops to the Congo war, but withdrew some of them last year after its forces clashed with Rwandan troops in the eastern city of Kisangani.

Annan requests cuts in AIDS medicine costs

NEW YORK Drug companies and governments must do more to bring down the cost of AIDS therapies so that patients in poor nations can gain access to treatment, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said yesterday.

While effective drugs against AIDS and related infections are available and softening the disease's impact in wealthy nations, "access to these treatments is uneven, and people in developing countries are dying needlessly for lack of appropriate care," Mr. Annan said.

In a report to the U.N. General Assembly, he said the inequities must be addressed "through all possible means."

Philippines halts push against rebels

MANILA Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, declaring that it is time to "heal and build," has suspended military operations against Muslim separatist rebels yesterday in a bid to restart stalled peace talks.

But she said there would be no withdrawal of government forces, as demanded by the rebels, from dozens of guerrilla bases in the south of the country seized by troops last year.

She ruled out establishing a separate Islamic state on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, considered a homeland of the Muslims, and said the government would work within the framework of the constitution.

Conservatives trail in Australian polls

CANBERRA, Australia The opposition Labor Party has opened up an eight-point lead over Australian Prime Minister John Howard's coalition and would have won if an election had been held in early February, an opinion poll showed today.

The Morgan poll published in the Bulletin magazine was the third survey in two weeks to show tumbling support for Mr. Howard, who is expected to call a general election by November in which he will seek a third consecutive term.

The poll was conducted on two consecutive weekends Feb. 3-4 and Feb. 10-11. The coalition suffered a disastrous defeat in the Western Australia state election on Feb. 10.

Germany, North Korea discuss beef aid

BERLIN German government officials met with representatives of the North Korean government yesterday for talks about a possible delivery of meat from 200,000 cattle to the famine-stricken country.

Pyongyang has requested the beef, which is not wanted in Germany due to the scare over "mad cow" disease.

The German government said in a statement that representatives from the ministries for consumer affairs, foreign affairs and economic cooperation met with members of the North Korean representation in Berlin and set conditions for delivery of the beef, which would be tested for the disease.

Rebel unit destroyed, Iran radio claims

TEHRAN Iranian security forces "destroyed" a unit of the country's main armed opposition group, the People's Mojahedin, during clashes in the western city of Ilam, state radio reported yesterday.

It said the group had killed one local citizen and injured seven others during clashes Sunday in the same city.

It added that the "terrorist team" had been "destroyed," but gave no further details. The report quoted the provincial governor of Ilam as saying a number of grenades, weapons and ammunition, and four RPG-18 rocket-launchers, as well as false identity cards had been captured.

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