- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 11, 2001

3 mavericks return to Canadian Alliance

OTTAWA — A revolt in Canada's main opposition party, the conservative Canadian Alliance, crumbled further yesterday when two more dissident members of Parliament said they were set to return to the fold.

That meant three of the 12 rebels who formed a separate parliamentary group in July to protest the leadership of Alliance leader Stockwell Day had bowed since the weekend to Mr. Day's demand they return or be expelled.

But some leading rebels refused to go back and there seems to be little chance the party will be able to concentrate any time soon on its aim of defeating the ruling Liberals of Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

Ignore hostages, FARC tells Europeans

LOS POZOS, Colombia — The kidnapping of three Germans in July by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) should have no bearing on the European commitment to peace in Colombia, say the rebels.

"What should be clear is that the FARC has no quarrels with any of the world's governments," said Raul Reyes, a spokesman for the Marxist rebels, insisting the conflict in Colombia necessitates that countries inform the FARC if their citizens enter rebel-controlled areas so the guerrillas can be sure they are not spies.

The detention July 18 of the three Germans is simply "policy," Mr. Reyes insisted, adding that the rebels, in their direct negotiations with Berlin, want only to confirm "who they are and if they are telling the truth."

Don't fret over F-16s,. Chile tells Peru

LIMA, Peru — Chile agrees with neighboring Peru on the need to limit arms spending, but will go ahead with a $700 million purchase of state-of-the art U.S. jets first, Defense Minister Mario Fernandez said in remarks published in El Comercio newspaper here yesterday.

The foreign and defense ministers of the two Pacific coast countries agreed after a day of talks Sunday to study their defense budgets and standardize the way they measure them as a first step toward making gradual cuts.

Chile plans to buy 10 F-16 fighters and two KC-135 tanker planes for aerial refueling in a purchase that has unnerved Peru and sparked fears of an upset in the regional balance of power. Chile is also spending more than $2 billion on warships and equipment.

Weekly notes

Cuba has invited officials from U.S. agencies involved in the war on drugs to take part in a Nov. 9-10 meeting in Havana on the fight against drug trafficking in the Caribbean, Cuban Justice Minister Roberto Diaz Sotolongo announced yesterday. Also invited were officials from the European Union, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Canada, the United Nations, Interpol and the Organization of American States, said Mr. Diaz Sotolongo. A strong ally of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso won the leadership of Brazil's largest political party on Sunday, helping unify the fractious governing coalition ahead of next year's elections.

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