- The Washington Times - Monday, July 1, 2002

Egypt backs Arafat, queries Bush peace plan
CAIRO Egypt yesterday threw its support behind Yasser Arafat as President Hosni Mubarak sought American clarification of the U.S. Middle East peace plan that calls for the Palestinian leader's ouster.
In remarks after Mr. Mubarak met a U.S. Senate delegation and a senior Arafat envoy, Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said Egypt "strongly supports the democratically elected Palestinian leadership and refuses any attempt to outflank it."
"We have told all that we support the will of the Palestinian people as it was expressed in the 1996 elections, in which Arafat was freely and democratically elected," he said. "Next year's elections announced by Arafat will also prove so."

Castro accuses Russia of selling out his country
HAVANA President Fidel Castro said Russia had betrayed Cuba and formed an alliance with the United States when Moscow severed agreements with the communist island after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
"I do not try to blame any one leader in particular. It was the fruit of [Russias] errors and the painful way in which it lost the ideological battle against the Western capitalist and imperialist bourgeoisie," Mr. Castro said in speech reported yesterday by the Communist Party daily Granma.
"Russia, allied with the United States, broke all the accords and betrayed Cuba," Mr. Castro said.

Spanish link reported in September attacks
MADRID Spanish police believe suspected September 11 suicide pilot Mohamed Atta met in Spain with other key leaders of the attack on the World Trade Center eight weeks before the hijackers flew U.S. airliners into the buildings, a newspaper said yesterday.
Atta met in or near the northeastern city of Tarragona on July 10 with Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, a Yemeni who is the subject of a worldwide manhunt, and Marwan al-Shehhi, a cousin of Atta with whom he took flight lessons in Florida, El Pais said.
U.S. authorities believe that Atta, an Egyptian, was aboard American Airlines Flight 11, which struck the north tower of the World Trade Center, and that al-Shehhi, of the United Arab Emirates, was aboard United Airlines Flight 175, which struck the south tower 17 minutes later.

Chavez optimistic as Carter visit nears
CARACAS, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez said yesterday he hoped that former President Jimmy Carter's visit next week will help revive talks between the government and its opposition, which have been locked in a power struggle since a failed coup.
"We receive him with faith and joy," Mr. Chavez said during his weekly radio show, adding that Mr. Carter's visit should "open the way and strengthen peace."
After meeting with Mr. Chavez and opposition politicians last week, the Atlanta-based Carter Center announced Saturday that Mr. Carter would arrive July 6 for a four-day visit to help break the political deadlock.

Elvis tops British charts for third straight week
LONDON Elvis Presley has notched a third consecutive week as king of the British pop charts 25 years after his death.
Dutch dance band JXL's remix of "A Little Less Conversation" soared to the top of the charts after it was used in a television advertisement during the soccer World Cup finals.
The song, first heard in the 1960s, failed to make the charts on its first British release in 1968.

Argentine leader slams U.S. leaders' 'ignorance'
BUENOS AIRES President Eduardo Duhalde charged yesterday that Argentina was being discriminated against by a U.S. government that is more interested in keeping oil flowing from the Middle East.
"I think the biggest difficulty we face is the ignorance and lack of concern toward our region of the government of the United States," Mr. Duhalde told local daily Clarin. "The North Americans are prioritizing conflicts in other parts of the world in which the flow of oil to the West is at stake."

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