- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 6, 2001

Seoul proposes talks with North Korea

SEOUL — South Korea said yesterday it has proposed ministerial talks with North Korea in Seoul to begin on Sept. 15, responding to an offer from the North, which had stalled the reconciliation process.

"We conveyed our message via phone call to the North seeking to hold ministerial talks in Seoul," a Unification Ministry spokeswoman said, adding the talks would last four days.

North Korea, after months of silence, announced Sunday it would immediately resume stalled talks with Seoul.

Israeli missiles hit Palestinian post

JERUSALEM — Israeli missiles slammed into a Palestinian security post in Gaza yesterday after mortar shells landed on a Jewish settlement, further dimming prospects for high-level truce talks this week. The Israeli missiles hit an office of Force 17, an elite unit of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's security, destroying two rooms in the one-story structure and sending black smoke over Beit Hanoun, a village northeast of Gaza City. The building was evacuated before the attack, but a bystander was injured by debris, Palestinian officials said.

Chile wants to scrap Pinochet coup holiday

SANTIAGO, Chile — Chile's government said yesterday it wanted to scrap a public holiday close to the anniversary of Gen. Augusto Pinochet's 1973 military coup after street protests and violence marred this year's holiday on Monday.

The presidential chief of staff's office said President Ricardo Lagos would give urgent status to a parliamentary motion to cancel the holiday, known as National Unity Day.

Held on the first Monday of September, National Unity Day was introduced three years ago to foster reconciliation around the time of the Sept. 11 anniversary of Pinochet's coup.

Colombia death squads form political party

BOGOTA, Colombia — Pro-government death squads, blamed for some of the worst atrocities in the country's 37-year old war, said yesterday they were forming a nationwide political movement.

In a 10-page document posted on its Web site, the outlawed United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) said the time was right to meld its military offensive with social and political activity.

Macedonian troops accused of atrocities

SKOPJE, Macedonia — A U.S.-based human rights group yesterday accused Macedonian forces of torturing and killing ethnic Albanian civilians and burning their houses in a village near the capital during an August offensive that left 10 persons dead. In a new report, Human Rights Watch charged that Macedonian police shot and killed six civilians and burned at least 22 houses, sheds and stores during a house-to-house sweep in the ethnic Albanian village of Ljuboten on Aug. 12.

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