- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 3, 2002

Israel's actions strainits alliance with Turkey
ANKARA, Turkey Israel's military offensive in Palestinian territories is straining ties with Turkey, its chief regional ally, putting the secular government of the Muslim nation in a delicate situation.
The partnership between non-Arab Turkey and Israel, both allies of the United States, was causing concern in the Arab world and Iran, particularly after the two signed a military cooperation accord in 1996.
Ankara and Tel Aviv, which have conducted joint military exercises and enhanced their defense-industry cooperation, say their accord does not target a third party in the region.
But after Israel's invasion of Palestinian territories last week and its attacks on Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah, Ankara hardened its tone and implicitly warned Tel Aviv that bilateral relations would suffer.
Turkish opposition parties urged annulment of a multibillion-dollar defense project awarded recently to Israel and the cancellation of upcoming joint military maneuvers.

Iran denies supportof suicide bombings
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Iran rejects U.S. accusations it has sponsored terrorist attacks on the West Bank, saying yesterday that Palestinian suicide bombers are resisting occupation of their land by Israel.
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told a news conference here in the Malaysian capital that it was irrelevant to talk about anyone sponsoring such violence.
"This is an incident in Palestine and they are committing suicide to resist occupation. Certainly, we have to see why Palestinians are committing suicide," Mr. Kharrazi said. "It's not a question of sponsor or not to sponsor," he said during the three-day meeting of the Organization of Islamic Conference countries.
On Monday, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld called Iran, Iraq and Syria supporters of terrorism and said they were inflaming the violence by "inspiring and financing a culture of political murder and suicide bombing."

Egyptian accused of spying for Israel
CAIRO State prosecutors charged an Egyptian man yesterday with spying for Israel, saying he offered to give the Jewish state sensitive economic and political data, security sources said.
The charges came less than a month after a Cairo court sent an Egyptian engineer to jail for 15 years on charges of spying for Israel. There was no right to appeal under emergency laws in place since Muslim militants assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981.
Anwar Mohamed Tawfiq, 52, could face 25 years in prison if convicted by an emergency high state security court in the coastal city of Alexandria. It was not immediately clear when the trial would start.

Weekly notes …
Jordan's King Abdullah II had talks with Italian Parliament Speaker Pierferdinando Casini yesterday on what Europe could do to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian towns. Officials said the king renewed his call for the immediate dispatch of international peacekeepers to protect the Palestinian people. … Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri will travel to Washington to meet President Bush on April 17, a Beirut newspaper reported yesterday. Mr. Hariri's office declined to confirm the report by As Safir's Washington correspondent.


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