- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 12, 2002

U.N. relief official fears U.S. funding cutoff

CAIRO A senior official of the U.N. Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), which helps Palestinian refugees, voiced fears yesterday of a cutoff of funding from the United States.

Karine Abu Zayd, a deputy commissioner-general, told reporters here that she held talks with Arab League chief Amr Mussa on "a campaign against UNRWA, notably in Washington."

"We have called on the Arab League to support us, to be guaranteed that we will continue to obtain the funds we need from Washington," she said, without elaborating on the possible U.S. funding cutoff.


EU penalizes Turkey for ouster of Kurds

STRASBOURG, France The European Court of Human Rights ruled yesterday that Turkey violated the right to free elections by stripping 13 Kurdish lawmakers of their parliamentary seats.

"The measure was incompatible with the very essence of the right to stand for election and to hold parliamentary office," the court said in its ruling.

The court said Ankara had violated the Council of Europe's human rights charter guaranteeing the a right to free elections.


Cyprus talks lag, says British envoy

NICOSIA, Cyprus Britain's special envoy for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay, said yesterday much hard work needs to be done for settlement talks to achieve a breakthrough on the divided island by the end-of-June target.

Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash have held direct talks since mid-January with few signs of compromise.

"Some progress has been made, but much more remains to be done, and time is relatively short," Mr. Hannay said in a statement.


U.S. offers help after Syrian disaster

DAMASCUS, Syria The United States is offering financial aid to Syria through the United Nations to help the region struck by a June 4 dam collapse, U.S. Ambassador Theodore Kattouf said here yesterday.

He made the offer in a letter to Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq Shara, the embassy said in a statement. "The amount will be determined in consultation with the [United Nations Development Program] and according to their identification of priority needs," Mr. Kattouf wrote.

The collapse of Zeyzoun dam in northern Syria released nearly 2.5 billion cubic feet of water, left at least 22 dead, four missing and thousands homeless.


Weekly notes

Former minister Karim Younes has been elected speaker of Algeria's lower house, the National Assembly, defeating his Islamist rival, Mohamed Djahid Younsi, by 271 votes to 52. Mr. Younes, 54, headed the list of the National Liberation Front (FLN) in the May 30 general elections, which the party won with an absolute majority. Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo called yesterday for an emergency Arab summit to take up what he called "total American bias" toward Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians. He made his comment a day after President Bush met with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Washington and voiced support for Israel's tough positions. "They have violated all their commitments and promises to the Arabs," he told Agence France-Presse.

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