- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 11, 2001

U.N. lifts arms ban from Yugoslavia

NEW YORK — The U.N. Security Council yesterday ended an arms embargo imposed on Yugoslavia in March 1998, lifting the last international sanctions against Belgrade for its crackdown on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

In a 15-0 vote, the council approved a resolution submitted by the United States, noting Yugoslavia had satisfied all requirements to end the ban.

The end of the embargo was possible after the new Belgrade government transferred former President Slobodan Milosevic to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague on June 28.

The council decision permits Yugoslav armed forces that have been cooperating with NATO in patrolling a buffer zone between Kosovo province and Serbia to obtain military equipment.

U.S. airman pleads not guilty in rape

NAHA, Japan The U.S. airman charged with raping a Japanese woman in a parking lot in Okinawa pleaded not guilty at the opening of his trial in the capital of Japan's subtropical island prefecture today.

"I just wanted to say we did have sex. It was consensual. I did not rape her," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Timothy Woodland, 24.

He is charged with raping an Okinawan woman in her 20s on the hood of a car in the parking lot of American Village, a shopping and amusement emporium a stone's throw from the sprawling Kadena U.S. Air Base, in the early hours of June 29.

Sgt. Woodland, who has been in Japanese police custody since July 7, entered the packed courtroom with his hands bound at the wrists with rope and accompanied by three police officers.

A Japanese lawyer has been appointed to assist Sgt. Woodland as the Naha District Court turned down his request on July 30 to hire a U.S. lawyer.

Suicide bomber kills two police officers

ISTANBUL — A suicide bomber set off an explosive in front of a police post yesterday, killing two policemen, injuring 21 persons and creating panic in Istanbul's nearby main square, a popular destination for tourists.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which created such a gruesome scene that police dashed to the area and covered body parts with newspaper, putting stones on top to prevent the paper from blowing away.

Police identified the dead bomber as Ugur Bulbul, who was released from prison six months ago after serving time for membership in a banned Marxist group.

Firefighters battle French forest fires

MARSEILLE, France — Hundreds of firefighters, backed by aircraft, helicopters and bulldozers, battled a series of forest fires yesterday that have ravaged parts of southeastern France, fire service officials said.

While in some areas the end-of-summer blazes, spread by strong mistral winds, appeared to be under control, another fire flared in a built-up area near the Mediterranean port of Marseille, forcing several nearby houses to be evacuated.

No one was hurt in the blaze.

Lawmaker seeks end of Cuba travel ban

HAVANA — A U.S. congressman who sponsored an amendment to end the ban on travel to Cuba said yesterday he believes President Bush won't fight the measure.

At the end of a three-day visit to the island, Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, said he believes his amendment prohibiting the U.S. Treasury Department from spending money on enforcing the travel ban has growing support, especially after the international custody battle over Elian Gonzalez.

Lukashenko's win called meaningless

The United States yesterday lambasted as "meaningless" and undemocratic an election in Belarus that returned President Alexander Lukashenko to power.

"Regrettably, no part of the electoral process has been transparent or fair. Lukashenko has merely used the facade of elections to engineer a meaningless victory for himself," State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said at a news briefing.

He backed up this comment with criticism of the election by Europe's top rights watchdog, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

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