- The Washington Times - Monday, September 3, 2001

Namibia pulls out of Congo war

KINSHASA, Congo — U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed the withdrawal of Namibia from Congo's war yesterday but the pullout left four foreign armies still in Congo.

Mr. Annan met with President Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa, the government-held capital of Congo, where Namibia's ambassador confirmed his country's withdrawal.

Mr. Annan also expressed pleasure at Uganda's ongoing withdrawal of most of its forces. Namibia, a southern African nation, had by far the smallest contingent — an estimated 2,000 troops — in Congo's war.

Russian president visits neighbor Finland

HELSINKI — Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived yesterday on his first state visit to Finland, the only EU member bordering his country, for talks focusing on the planned enlargement of the 15-nation bloc and NATO.

Mr. Putin, accompanied by his wife, Lyudmila, began the two-day visit with a symbolic gesture by arriving in Finland's west coast town of Turku, a sister city to St. Petersburg where Mr. Putin was deputy mayor in the 1990s.

He and President Tarja Halonen made no statements to the media after their meeting, and Mr. Putin flew on to Helsinki for more talks scheduled today.

U.S. oil companies warned by Libya

TRIPOLI, Libya — If U.S. firms do not return to oil fields they were forced to abandon because of sanctions against Libya, they will lose their rights to the fields, Libya's foreign minister said yesterday.

At the same time, Abdel-Rahman Shalqam expressed, in some of the most direct terms ever, Libya's desire to reconcile with the United States.

"Libya desires a resolution with America," Mr. Shalqam told reporters after meeting with Italy's foreign minister, Renato Ruggiero. "America is a big country. It has capabilities. We are a developing nation, a small country."

The United States recently extended sanctions against foreign companies conducting business with Libya for five years.

Open trial considered for aid workers

KABUL, Afghanistan — The nation's Taliban rulers said yesterday they might hold an open trial of eight Western aid workers held on charges of promoting Christianity.

"It is expected that the trial will be an open one and the investigation of their case is almost complete," said the movement's foreign minister, Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil.

He could not give a date for the trial of two American, four German and two Australian workers of the German-based relief agency Shelter Now International. But other Taliban sources said it was expected to begin later this week.

Angolan rebels blamed in deadly bus attack

LUANDA, Angola — Suspected UNITA rebels attacked two buses in Angola on Saturday, killing at least 38 persons and injuring dozens more, the government's official state radio reported yesterday.

The radio said gunmen from the rebel National Union for the Total Independence of Angola were responsible for the attack at Gabela in Cuanza Sul province, around 95 miles southwest of the capital, Luanda.

Analysts say UNITA has stepped up its activity lately, especially near the capital, in a bid to force the government back to the negotiating table.

U.S. Embassy in Iran to be a museum

TEHRAN — Iran is turning the former U.S. Embassy the so-called "den of spies" where 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days into a museum.

Documents and equipment taken when the militants stormed the building in 1979 will be on display at the museum, which is to be inaugurated Nov. 4, the anniversary of the takeover, according to an official.

The English-language Tehran Times said the display will include "public tools and apparatus used by the American personnel for espionage purposes."

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