- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Red Cross chief hits 'kill on sight' order

GENEVA The International Committee of the Red Cross said yesterday that a "kill on sight" order to U.S. troops hunting Osama bin Laden and his closest aides in Afghanistan would violate international law.

"Prisoners captured in conflict should be kept as prisoners and not killed. This is a basic rule of international humanitarian law," ICRC Director-General Paul Grossrieder told Reuters Television.

He had been asked to comment on recent remarks by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that he would rather see the Saudi-born Islamic radical killed than taken alive. Bin Laden, who is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan, is blamed by the United States for the September 11 hijacked-jetliner attacks that killed more than 4,000 people in New York, Arlington and rural Pennsylvania.


Uninvited Hekmatyar blasts Bonn parley

TEHRAN Afghanistan's exiled former Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar denounced U.N.-sponsored talks opening in Bonn as a U.S. ploy to further its influence in post-Taliban Afghanistan.

"Only groups fitting U.S. requirements and interests have been invited to the Bonn conference," Mr. Hekmatyar said yesterday in a statement faxed to the Reuters news agency.

"Afghanistan's problems cannot be resolved by a government set up by America, Russia and their puppets," said Mr. Hekmatyar, an ethnic Pashtun who fled to Iran after the Taliban militia took control of most of Afghanistan in 1996.


Punishment urged for Kurdish proponents

ANKARA, Turkey The Higher Education Board (YOK) called yesterday for disciplinary action against university students who have held demonstrations and filed petitions for education in the Kurdish language, which is banned.

The YOK said that the students' acts did not constitute "innocent civilian demands," but an organized movement masterminded by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which carried out a 15-year armed campaign for Kurdish self-rule in southeast Turkey.

It said the petitions filed by the students were the same as sample petitions on nine Internet Web sites affiliated with the PKK, which stopped fighting in September 1999 to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict as urged by its leader, Abdullah Ocalan, who is on death row.


Weekly notes

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has resumed work despite his doctor's orders to take two weeks of complete rest for his back troubles, an aide said yesterday. The aide said Mr. Khatami, 58, "rested for a few days" before returning to work and participating in Monday's Cabinet meeting. Torquato Cardilli, Italy's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, has converted to Islam. The career diplomat revealed his decision to Saudi newspapers Saturday on his 59th birthday, and Italian diplomatic sources confirmed the announcement this week. Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt met his Turkish counterpart Bulent Ecevit in Ankara yesterday during a brief visit to discuss the Cyprus question, Turkey's objection to European Union defense plans and EU enlargement. Mr. Verhofstadt told reporters that he and Mr. Ecevit discussed the next EU summit, in Laeken, Belgium, on Dec. 15, to which all 15 candidate countries, including Turkey, have been invited.


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