- The Washington Times - Monday, January 14, 2002

Sharon says peace is his main goal

JERUSALEM Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said yesterday he is ready to take "bold steps" for peace, but he set tough conditions for a resumption of talks with Yasser Arafat and said he doubted the Palestinian leader is interested in a settlement.
"I have one thing I wanted to accomplish, and that's to reach a political settlement which will lead to peace with the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world," Mr. Sharon told foreign correspondents. "That would be the last thing I would like to do in political life."
Mr. Sharon did not outline any vision of a peace deal but said that no Israeli leader would ever again offer the Palestinians what his predecessor, Ehud Barak, proposed at a summit in the United States in July 2000.
Mr. Barak offered a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and more than 90 percent of the West Bank, with a foothold in Jerusalem.

Chavez names new vice president
CARACAS, Venezuela Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez yesterday named as his vice president a retired military colonel who had joined him in a failed 1992 coup, replacing the much-criticized leftist academic Adina Bastidas.
Diosdado Cabello, who had been serving as minister of the presidential secretariat, presided over the successful liberalization of the telecommunications market and is regarded as a moderate within the circles of Mr. Chavez's "democratic revolution."
Mr. Bastidas, who had been vice president for more than a year, drew stern criticism for comments including a well-publicized rant, shortly after the September 11 attacks on the United States, against white Anglo-Saxon Protestant terrorism in the developing world.

Northern Ireland police question two suspects
BELFAST Police detained two men yesterday for questioning in the shooting death of a Catholic postman at a sorting office in a Protestant neighborhood of Northern Ireland.
"It's some progress in an absolutely tragic situation," Chief Constable Ronnie Flanagan of the Police Service of Northern Ireland told the British Broadcasting Corp. The two men were not identified.
A group called the Red Hand Defenders has said it carried out the shooting on Saturday. Police say the group includes members of Northern Ireland's largest illegal Protestant paramilitary organization, the Ulster Defense Association, and other illegal Protestant groups.

U.S. asks Gulf Arabs for Afghanistan funds
DUBAI A U.S. envoy said yesterday he would seek aid from oil-rich Gulf Arab countries to help rebuild Afghanistan and support Pakistan's leader after his pledge to crack down on Islamic militancy.
"We need to support Pakistan at this time and support President [Pervez] Musharraf," said Lincoln Bloomfield, assistant secretary of state for political and military affairs, at a news conference in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
"We also need to support humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan, where the Afghan people now have an opportunity to rebuild their country," he said after talks with UAE leaders.

Reports say dozens feared dead in clash
LAGOS, Nigeria Armed members of an outlawed militant group clashed with guards protecting the palace of a traditional ruler in southwestern Nigeria and dozens of people are feared dead, newspapers reported yesterday.
The fighting broke out Saturday when members of a Yoruba group, the Odua Peoples Congress (OPC), approached the palace of a Yoruba tribal leader in a village 90 miles northeast of Lagos, according to ThisDay newspaper.
The OPC was banned for its suspected role in armed attacks on police and military installations that have resulted in several deaths since 1999. The militant group at one time called for a separate Yoruba state and vigilante killings of suspected criminals.

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