- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 22, 2001

Colombian left, right slug it out; 30 die

BOGOTA, Colombia Clashes between leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary groups have killed at least 30 persons in a war-torn corner of Colombia's jagged Andes mountains, officials said yesterday.
The toll from the fighting near the remote town of Santa Rita de Ituango, some 155 miles northwest of the capital Bogota, is the heaviest in the last seven months in the South American nation's increasingly brutal 37-year-old war.
A Santa Rita official said most of the dead were believed to be members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country's largest rebel force, and their bitter enemies, the outlawed United Self-Defense Forces (AUC).
"We can confirm the death of 29 people, apparently all combatants, and the death of a civilian woman," Alvaro Londono told private radio Caracol.

Turabi spirited away by armed Sudanese

KHARTOUM, Sudan Hassan Turabi, former parliament speaker and once Sudan's chief Islamic theologian, was taken from his Khartoum house yesterday by armed security men, one of his top aides said.
Mohammed Amin Khalifa said the security men broke into Mr. Turabi's house and led him away.
"He had just finished his evening prayers and was getting ready to leave to visit two lawyers who have just been released from detention," the aide said. "Dr. Turabi offered no resistance."
Information Minister Ghazi Salah Din Atabani told reporters that Mr. Turabi and a number of his aides were arrested for "conspiring with the southern rebels to topple the government."

India acts to extend Kashmir cease-fire

NEW DELHI India decided yesterday to extend its unilateral cease-fire in Kashmir, but Pakistan and hard-line guerrillas snubbed the latest truce extension even before details of it were released.
India's decision to continue its suspension of offensive operations against militants in Kashmir came as Pakistan announced that President Bush had written to military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf calling for dialogue between the two nuclear-equipped South Asian neighbors.

Sharon views panel on violence warily

JERUSALEM Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon will insist that the functions of a U.S.-led panel probing five months of violence in the region be spelled out before he allows them to continue their work, Israeli public radio reported yesterday.
Mr. Sharon will present that demand to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell this weekend during Mr. Powell's visit to the region, the radio said.
The five-member panel, which was set up at a summit in Egypt in October to look into the causes of the violence that now has cost more than 415 lives, is headed by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell.

Belgrade's Mladic goes underground

BELGRADE In a new blow to the U.N. war-crimes tribunal, a top official said yesterday that one of the court's most wanted suspects Bosnian Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic has gone underground after years of living publicly in Belgrade.
Serbian Interior Minister Dusan Mihajlovic said his police have been unable to find the former commander of the Bosnian Serb army at his Belgrade home or anywhere else in Serbia.
"As far as I know, Mr. Mladic was in Belgrade for a while, at a certain address," Mr. Mihajlovic said. "But he has not been at his address for some time and we do not have information that he is in Serbia at all."

Cut in Congo force by U.N. draws fire

NEW YORK The warring sides in Congo criticized a U.N. plan to reduce its observer force for the central African nation from an authorized 5,537 to 3,000, saying yesterday that it sent the wrong message at a time when combatants have pledged to end the conflict.
Zimbabwe's foreign minister, Stanislaus Mudenge, told U.N. Security Council ambassadors at the start of a two-day summit meeting of the warring states that the proposed reduction implied the United Nations wasn't sincere about seizing the opportunity to implement a 1999 cease-fire agreement.

North Korea gives warning on launches

SEOUL North Korea's foreign ministry warned yesterday that it may scrap a promise to stop missile test launches, South Korean monitors said.

The warning came in a foreign ministry statement that made the first official attack on the new government of President Bush.

If the United States does not change its attitude, the communist state may not keep "our promise to the previous U.S. government in connection with our missiles," said the statement by a foreign ministry spokesman, reported by North Korean state media and monitored in Seoul.

The spokesman accused "the foreign and security team of the new U.S. government" of taking a hard-line stance toward Pyongyang. The spokesman added that situation was "extremely serious."

Yonhap news said the warning could also target a 1994 agreement to freeze its suspected nuclear arms program.

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