- The Washington Times - Friday, May 4, 2001

Powell hints retreat on Iran dialogue
Secretary of State Colin Powell said yesterday that the United States will be ready to open official talks with Iran "when engagement makes sense."
The Bush administration has remained generally silent on Iranian relations since taking office, and Mr. Powells comments seemed to be a retreat from President Clintons policy of seeking a dialogue with Tehran without conditions.
He told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that Iran "continues to hang on to an ideology" that is not relevant to the 21st century.

Macedonians begin new offensive
SKOPJE, Macedonia - Macedonian forces backed by helicopter gunships began a fresh offensive yesterday against ethnic Albanian rebels after two soldiers were killed and at least one was kidnapped in an ambush.
The rebels were holding as many as 2,000 villagers as "human shields" against government troops and had taken up positions in the upper floors of houses, army spokesman Blagoja Markovski said.
"These people are going to sacrifice their children," President Boris Trajkovski said in an interview with CNN. "They dont care about killing the innocent civilians."

Motion to impeach Chiluba entered
LUSAKA, Zambia — Zambian legislators yesterday filed a motion to impeach President Frederick Chiluba for gross misconduct.
Ruling party members Ackson Sejani and Mike Mulongoti handed House Speaker Amusaa Mwanamwambwa a notice of motion, signed by more than a third of the 158 legislators, giving the speaker 21 days to decide whether the charges warrant a special tribunal.
"The president has engaged in acts of gross misconduct by encouraging and rewarding acts of thuggery, gangsterism, and anarchy," the notice said, adding that Chiluba had created conditions that endangered the lives of his vice president and ministers at a special congress of the ruling party last weekend.

'Great Train Robber seeks return home
LONDON — Fugitive Ronnie Biggs of Britains notorious "Great Train Robbery" gang told police yesterday that he wants to return home from Brazil as soon as possible after 35 years on the run.
Biggs representative in Britain, Kevin Crace, said the 71-year-old train robber, who escaped from a London prison in 1965, two years after helping to pull off one of the most famous heists in history, would give himself up on arrival.
"I fully intend to go back to the United Kingdom at the earliest opportunity," Biggs said in a statement read to Reuters.

Blair clears deck for June 7 election
LONDON — Prime Minister Tony Blair paved the way yesterday for an expected June general election, declaring that Britain was now on the "home straight" in the fight against foot-and-mouth disease.
His announcement that the government was finally "getting the disease under control" effectively clears the decks for him to call a general election, which is widely expected to be on June 7.
If he does decide to go for June 7, he must make the announcement by the middle of next week.

Taliban rejectscease-fire plea
KABUL, Afghanistan — The ruling Taliban yesterday rejected a six-month cease-fire proposed by U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers, saying it would only prolong the conflict.
Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil told reporters the Taliban could not trust the northern-based opposition groups to observe the cease-fire.
"We think this cease-fire will further lengthen the conflict," he said, after long talks here with Mr. Lubbers.
From wire dispaches and staff reports

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