- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 19, 2002

EU to assume policing in Bosnia

BRUSSELS The European Union agreed yesterday to take over a police task force in Bosnia-Herzegovina from the United Nations next year in what would be the first crisis-management operation for the 15-nation bloc.

"This is a historic decision," said Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency.

"The mission will start on January 1, 2003, and will last three years, though its mandate could be extended," he told reporters after the EU's foreign ministers approved the move.

The 500-strong mission will train, supervise and inspect the police in the ethnically divided Balkan state, helping to "institute the rule of law," Mr. Pique said.

Britain invades Spain by mistake

GIBRALTAR The British military apologized yesterday for invading Spain over the weekend by mistake.

About 20 Royal Marines went slightly off course in an amphibious exercise and stormed a Spanish beach on Sunday morning near the British colony of Gibraltar, a British Defense Ministry spokesman said.

The soldiers left after several fishermen and local police officers told them they were in Spain.

Peru's court upholds Berenson's sentence

LIMA, Peru The top appeals court yesterday upheld the 20-year sentence on terrorism charges of Lori Berenson, a U.S. woman convicted of aiding Marxist rebels, exhausting all her legal options in Peru, a senior judge said.

"Her sentence has been confirmed," said Guillermo Cabala, president of the section of the court that reviewed her case. He said four of the five judges wanted the sentence upheld while he argued for it to be reduced to 15 years.

It was not clear whether Berenson herself, who began a hunger strike yesterday in support of jailed leftist rebels, had been informed of the Supreme Court ruling.

India's BJP struggles in state polls

NEW DELHI India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) looked likely to lose its controlling position in the country's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, exit polls showed yesterday after two rounds of voting.

The election for a new state assembly had been divided into three rounds in western, central and eastern Uttar Pradesh to allow police to be moved around the vast region.

Exit polls showed while the BJP, which dominated the ruling national coalition, had come out on top in the first round of voting in western Uttar Pradesh last week, it lost to the socialist regional Samajwadi Party in the second round.

Arafat must go, says Netanyahu

JERUSALEM Exuding confidence that he will return to power, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that Israel must remove Yasser Arafat and destroy the Palestinian Authority perhaps via military assault before peace talks can resume.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Mr. Netanyahu said he has no qualms about challenging Ariel Sharon, a sitting prime minister from his own Likud Party.

Mr. Netanyahu, 52, has been speaking throughout the United States and Israel, and has criticized Mr. Sharon and called for the removal of Mr. Arafat.

Georgia seeks anti-terror alliance

TBILISI, Georgia Georgia's president said yesterday his country would consider conducting a joint security operation with the United States to uproot terrorists hiding in a gorge on the border with Russia's breakaway republic of Chechnya.

"As for the possibility of a future joint action with the U.S. special forces in the Pankisi Gorge, we haven't yet had systematic discussions on that," Eduard Shevardnadze told reporters.

The pressure on Georgia to deal with crime and instability linked to the gorge increased last week when U.S. charge d'affaires Philip Remler told a Georgian newspaper that several dozen terrorists from Afghanistan were operating in the region.

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