- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Abandoned bombs hurt 5 Lebanese

RASHAYA, Lebanon Five civilians were wounded yesterday by the explosion of cluster bombs left behind by Israeli troops who withdrew from south Lebanon in May 2000, police said.

Those wounded at Kfeir, a village in the western sector of the Lebanon-Israel border zone, were taken to a hospital in nearby Rashaya, where their condition was termed serious. The abandoned bombs went off as residents tried to put out a fire in their olive groves

Kuwait spurns Iraqi on missing from war

KUWAIT The emirate dismissed yesterday an Iraqi offer to discuss some 600 missing, mostly Kuwaitis, since the 1990-1991 Gulf war and urged its former occupier to end a boycott of multilateral talks on their fate.

Iraq must stop "politicizing" the emotional issue of the missing and take real steps to determine their fate, Kuwaiti Information Minister Sheik Ahmad Fahd Sabah told reporters.

Officials said Iraq's latest offer did not include returning to commission meetings, which Iraq has boycotted since a U.S.-British four-day military campaign against it in December 1998.

Polisario Front frees 100 Moroccans

BERLIN Germany welcomed yesterday the release of 100 Moroccan prisoners of war held by the Algerian-backed Polisario Front in a conflict over the Western Sahara.

The prisoners were freed in what the Polisario Front called a "strictly humanitarian measure" after talks with German Foreign Ministry official Juergen Chrobog. Some of the prisoners of war have been held captive since Morocco occupied Western Sahara in 1975.

Iran, Turkey see trade as future bridge

TEHRAN Iranian President Mohammad Khatami marked the end of a Tehran visit by Turkish counterpart Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday by saying the neighbors could team up economically as a bridge between Asia and Europe.

Iran and Turkey "can assume the role of the main links between Europe and Asia," Mr. Khatami said during a meeting between their trade officials.

The Iranian leader added that the current $1.2 billion in trade between the two countries "does not correspond with our potential."

Weekly notes

China's vice foreign minister for the Middle East and Africa, Yang Wenchang, arrived in Israel yesterday for talks with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. It is the first visit by a high-ranking Chinese official since Israel's cancellation in July 2000 of a contract for the sale of airborne radar systems to China. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said during a visit to Cairo yesterday that the entire Arab world is prepared to offer Israel peace in exchange for its total withdrawal from occupied Arab territories. He spoke at a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher after briefing President Hosni Mubarak on his talks last week with President Bush.

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