- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 10, 2002

ARGENTINA

Economy chief wins struggle over IMF talks

BUENOS AIRES Economy Minister Robert Lavagna won a battle for control of talks with the International Monetary Fund yesterday after the resignation of central bank chief Aldo Pignanelli.

President Eduardo Duhalde accepted the resignation yesterday, four days after it was submitted by Mr. Pignanelli, who had been at loggerheads with Mr. Lavagna over talks with the IMF since he took the job in June.

The crisis-torn South American country has been seeking an IMF rescue package for a year since defaulting on its $140 billion public debt. The IMF suspended aid payments. Argentina is in a fourth year of recession.


CANADA

Pact signed with U.S. over troop crossings

OTTAWA Canada and the United States have signed an agreement that will make it easier for each country's troops to cross their joint border in times of emergency, Defense Minister John McCallum announced yesterday.

Mr. McCallum said the two countries have agreed to establish a Canada-U.S. Planning Group to coordinate civil aid and military assistance in times of emergency. He said a new command center would be established adjacent to the binational U.S.-based headquarters of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad), which is responsible for the joint air defenses of the two countries.


CUBA

Haiti tensions get Caricom's attention

HAVANA Communist-led Cuba bolstered its regional position Sunday by hosting for the first time a summit of leaders of the 15-nation Caribbean Community, in which it has only observer status.

Caribbean heads of state called for the "immediate lifting" of U.S. economic sanctions imposed on Cuba four decades ago to oust President Fidel Castro after he led a 1959 revolution.

Concern over political instability and mounting tensions in Haiti, the hemisphere's poorest country and Caricom's newest member, dominated talks. Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide briefed the meeting on the crisis, and Caricom urged financial institutions to "relaunch" aid programs for Haiti.


Weekly notes

Mexico City's attorney general denied Sunday reports by a New York daily that leftist Colombian rebels had plotted to abduct former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani on a trip to the Mexican capital last month. "There is no way a Colombian guerrilla could be active in Mexico," Attorney General Bernardo Batiz told Notimex news agency. Guatemala's Harvard-educated attorney general said unidentified gunmen shot at his car as he was driving home after a late-night meeting last week. Carlos de Leon Argueta, 45, told Reuters news agency he had received more than 10 anonymous death threats that he believed were linked to investigations he had undertaken, including a probe into reported drug trafficking by high-ranking, former military men.

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