- The Washington Times - Monday, June 10, 2002

Annan to meet Uribe
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will meet Colombia's president-elect, Alvaro Uribe, on June 17 in New York to discuss Mr. Uribe's request for mediation in his country's 38-year war, a spokesman said.
"The secretary-general will meet the president-elect of Colombia, Mr. Uribe, on the 17th here at U.N. headquarters," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
Mr. Uribe, scheduled to take office on Aug. 7, won a landslide victory on May 26 after promising a military buildup to counter Marxist guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
But in a surprisingly conciliatory victory speech, he said his first task would be to seek U.N. mediation. The United Nations has said it would consider his request.
The conflict, fueled by the drug trade, intensified in the lawless countryside since outgoing President Andres Pastrana broke off peace talks with the 17,000-member FARC in February. The war also involves paramilitary outlaws and state security forces.

Africa famine relief
JOHANNESBURG International aid agencies, donors and regional governments scrambled yesterday to draw up a plan to tackle a food crisis affecting about 13 million people in southern Africa.
Urgent talks to avert the region's worst food shortages in a decade got under way Thursday with delegates painting a bleak picture of the six hardest-hit countries Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique.
Aid agencies are not yet calling it a famine, but the threat is there if action is not taken during the coming months.
The U.N. World Food Program estimates that 12.8 million people are threatened by food shortages this year.

No consensus
NUSA DUA, Indonesia A U.N. conference aimed at reducing global poverty and preserving the environment ended late Friday amid assertions of bad faith after delegates failed to agree on several vital issues.
Most of the elements in a draft plan of action to be adopted in the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg met with agreement, but several contentious issues, such as financing and time-bound measures, remained unresolved, said Emil Salim, chairman of the meeting.
"The meeting failed to meet consensus due to a lack of good faith and the spirit of constructive dialogue," Mr. Salim told at a press conference late Friday night.

Rebels reject mediation
KIGALI, Rwanda The main rebel group in Congo stood by its labeling of the top U.N. official in the country as persona non grata and its expulsions of three other U.N. mission officials.
"Our position is the same" regarding U.N. envoy Amos Namanga Ngongi and the expulsions, a spokesman for the Rwanda-backed Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) said after officials from the U.N. mission visited the RCD headquarters town of Goma.
Apart from declaring Mr. Ngongi persona non grata in territories under its control on June 1, the RCD ordered the expulsions of three U.N. officials from Goma and from Kisangani.

Betsy Pisik is on assignment. This column was compiled from wire service reports.


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