- The Washington Times - Monday, January 21, 2002

No withdrawal seen from Saudi Arabia
KUWAIT A withdrawal of U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia is not on the table, a State Department official said yesterday.
Lincoln Bloomfield, the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, was referring to a report in The Washington Post last week that said Saudi Arabia may soon ask the United States to withdraw its forces from the kingdom because they have stayed too long.
"I did not discuss any kind of reduction at all," Mr. Bloomfield told reporters of his talks in Saudi Arabia, which he visited before Kuwait. He said his tour of eight Middle Eastern countries was designed to see how Washington should shape its security cooperation with friendly governments.
U.S. forces have been stationed in Saudi Arabia since the 1990 buildup to the 1991 Persian Gulf war.

Taiwan's Cabinet resigns en masse
TAIPEI Taiwan's Cabinet resigned en masse today to pave the way for a postelection reshuffle aiming to rescue the slowing economy and boost the popularity of the government ahead of presidential elections in 2004.
Prime Minister Chang Chun-hsiung, whose popularity rating has been embarrassingly low since he took office in October 2000, and members of his cabinet tendered their resignations to allow President Chen Shui-bian to name a new prime minister.
Mr. Chen is expected to name his chief of staff, Yu Shyi-kun, as the next prime minister later today, according to local media.
Mr. Yu, 53, is a former vice prime minister and was mayor of the northeastern rural county of Ilan from 1989 to 1997. The reshuffle is expected to herald little change in policy, with key ministers keeping their jobs, media said.

U.S. posters promote hunt for war criminals
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina State Department posters went up around Sarajevo over the weekend, offering $5 million for information leading to the arrest of Bosnia's two most-wanted war crimes suspects.
The posters appeared two days after Bosnia handed over six suspected terrorists to the United States a coincidence, according to the U.S. Embassy.
The black-and-white posters display photos of Serbian wartime leader Radovan Karadzic and his general, Ratko Mladic.
The men were indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague in 1996 and have been on the run ever since.

Rival mobs clash in Belfast streets
BELFAST Rival mobs of Catholics and Protestants clashed with riot police last night on the divided streets of north Belfast, tossing gasoline-filled bottles and setting hijacked cars on fire.
Police reported confronting groups of men and teen-agers in at least three areas where Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods sit uncomfortably beside each other. No injuries were reported immediately.
The roughest parts of north Belfast have seen rioting almost every weekend since June. The issues fueling the violence include growing Protestant opposition to Northern Ireland's peace accord and Protestant protests outside a Catholic elementary school.

Mexico cites Pemex in corruption probe
MEXICO CITY Mexico is probing its state oil monopoly on suspicion it channeled $120 million to the 2000 election campaign of the long-ruling PRI party, a sign President Vicente Fox may be toughening his stance on corruption, according to a media report yesterday.
Mexico's comptroller general and the attorney general are investigating funds sent by oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) to its powerful union, which in turn may have sent the money to Institutional Revolutionary Party's (PRI) losing presidential candidate, the Reforma newspaper reported.
The PRI candidate, Francisco Labastida, lost to Mr. Fox in the July 2000 election, ending 71 years of one-party rule.
Comptroller General Francisco Barrio told reporters late Saturday that a probe had turned up evidence that $120 million had been sent by the oil giant to the union, but he could not confirm that the cash was linked to Mr. Labastida.

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