- The Washington Times - Friday, September 21, 2001

Fighting flares in Chechnya

MOSCOW Fresh violence flared up across Russia's volatile North Caucasus yesterday as troops and police strove to find and kill rebels responsible for attacks on major Chechen towns.

The Itar-Tass news agency quoted the military as saying it had begun large-scale "special operations" in every part of Chechnya and used helicopter gunships to blast rebel positions in the mountains. At least six servicemen have been killed.

The raids followed Monday's rebel assault on Gudermes, during which parts of Chechnya's second town fell into guerrilla hands, and an attack on another major town, Argun. Troops had to use armor and artillery to flush out the attackers.

Almost two years after sending troops to regain control of Chechnya, Moscow has failed to stamp out armed insurgency. Its servicemen die almost daily from rebel attacks.

West snubs Belarus at inauguration

MINSK, Belarus The West cold-shouldered authoritarian Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko yesterday at the inauguration of his second term of office in the wake of Sept. 9 elections it regards as tainted by fraud.

The U.S. ambassador and most of his Western counterparts stayed away to register their disapproval of a regime led by what President Bush has dubbed "Europe's last dictator."

Russia, by contrast, offered Mr. Lukashenko full diplomatic honors at the start of this new term, with a message from President Vladimir Putin hailing the "fraternity and cooperation" between their two countries.

The U.S. Embassy which earlier gave notice to the Belarus Foreign Ministry that Ambassador Michael Kozak would not attend was not represented. Most other Western ambassadors settled for sending a deputy.

Jospin: 'Understanding' best anti-terror weapon

CRETEIL, France Tolerance and respect for others are the most effective weapons that democratic societies can field against fanaticism, French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin said yesterday, reacting to the aftermath of last week's deadly jetliner attacks in the United States.

In a speech delivered in the northeastern Paris suburb of Creteil, Mr. Jospin said that democratic societies would be capable of "overcoming all forms of fanaticism."

"Faced with terrorist threats, it is extremely important that our fellow citizens and in particular our young people, whatever their origins, assert their determination to live together in harmony," he said.

Mr. Jospin's remarks were seen as a clear reference to the risk of ethnic and religious tensions in France, which is home to a large Muslim community, many of whose members are immigrants from North Africa.

'Jackal' praises terrorist attacks

PARIS Imprisoned terrorist Carlos the Jackal has praised the terror attacks against the United States in a newspaper interview, prompting an inquiry by the Paris prosecutor's office.

Carlos, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, told the France Soir newspaper that he felt "relief" on learning of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Ramirez is serving a life sentence in France for three murders and is under investigation in three terrorist attacks in the 1980s.

The prosecutor's office said it wanted to look into how the interview was carried out and whether the remarks might constitute a "justification of terrorism," a crime in France, judicial officials said yesterday.

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