- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 9, 2002

Conservative elected to lead Costa Rica

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica Psychiatrist and television personality Abel Pacheco won a historic second-round presidential election in Costa Rica on Sunday, but voters stayed away from the polls in record numbers.

Mr. Pacheco, of the center-right Social Christian Unity Party, claimed victory as 92 percent of votes counted showed him with 58 percent of the vote over opposition candidate Rolando Araya of the centrist National Liberation Party with 42 percent.

"This is a triumph for all Costa Ricans who love our homeland, who work and who are good," he told cheering supporters in his victory speech, after taking a call from Mr. Araya, who conceded the election.

Canadian right trying cooperation

OTTAWA The leaders of Canada's two main conservative opposition parties meet today to determine whether they can bury mutual suspicions and combine forces in an attempt to unseat the ruling Liberal Party.

Splits between the Canadian Alliance and the smaller Conservative Party have handed the Liberals victories in three consecutive federal elections since 1993, leading many to ask whether the political right will ever get its act together.

An initial answer should come from the first meeting between new Alliance leader Stephen Harper and veteran Conservative chief Joe Clark, a former Canadian prime minister, each of whom fears the other will try to grab control of his party.

Brazil defense chief attends Russia meetings

MOSCOW Brazilian Defense Minister Geraldo da Cruz Quintao began a weeklong series of meetings with officials here yesterday, and is to meet his Russian counterpart, Sergei Ivanov, today, Brazilian Embassy officials said.

Mr. Da Cruz Quintao is also to meet members of Russia's military-industrial complex and representatives of arms export firm Rosoboronexport, the officials said.

During a visit by Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso and a 70-member delegation in January, Russia said it envisaged sales of its Su-27 and MiG-29 fighters to Brazil, along with S-300 anti-missile batteries.

Weekly notes

Mexican President Vicente Fox said in an interview Sunday he is pondering whether or not to close a Colombian guerrilla office in Mexico City, after peace talks between the rebels and Colombia's government collapsed. Mexico and nine other "friendly" countries played a role in facilitating negotiations between Bogota and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia before Colombian President Andres Pastrana canceled contacts Feb. 20. Canada said yesterday it will pull out all dependents of its diplomats in Pakistan. Its embassy in Islamabad said diplomats would be given a choice of accompanying their families, remaining until the middle of the year or serving out their postings. The United States withdrew some staff and all dependents after a grenade attack on a church in Islamabad last month killed five persons, including the wife and daughter of a U.S. diplomat.

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