- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 15, 2002

Britain may appoint Ulster truce monitor

LONDON Britain says it is close to naming an independent monitor to oversee paramilitary cease-fires in Northern Ireland, although the plan is controversial in the British-ruled province.
The proposal, advanced by Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid earlier this year and again last week, has run into stiff opposition from moderate and hard-line republicans, who favor an end to British rule. A government spokesman said details were still being worked out, but an appointment could be made soon.
The announcement came after Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr. Reid and Northern Ireland 1st Minister David Trimble met at No. 10 Downing St. to discuss recent violence in the province that has threatened the shaky 4-year-old peace agreement. Mr. Trimble said he wanted as a monitor "someone who is shining a very strong spotlight on the paramilitaries."
In an interview with the Dublin-based republican newspaper An Phoblacht, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) said it opposes such a plan. "If it is put in place, it will only be used to serve the interests of those opposed to change," an IRA spokesman told the paper. Moderate Catholic leader Mark Durkan, head of the Social Democratic and Labor Party, which shares power with pro-British unionists in the northern Irish executive, also opposes the plan.

Basque intellectual sets march against strife
BAYONNE, France A Spanish intellectual is to urge 200,000 Basques living outside the region to join a march next month against separatist violence in the Basque country.
The writer and philosopher Fernando Savater is a spokesman for Basta Ya! (Enough!), which opposes the violent campaign waged by the armed separatist group ETA. His group plans a mass protest Oct. 19 in the Basque town of San Sebastian against nationalism and extremism.
In an interview Friday in Basque Country Week, a newspaper based in this French Basque town, Mr. Savatar said he hopes thousands of "exiled" Basques join the rally. His appeal is to be published in French, Spanish and Basque.
"More than 800 people have died. Thousands live under [police] escort. Ten percent of the [Basque] population representing 200,000 people have left the region in the past 12 years," he said.

Weekly notes
The Ukrainian parliament upheld the parliamentary immunity of opposition leader Iulia Timoshenko on Thursday, despite calls by Ukrainian prosecutors seeking to indict her for purportedly embezzling state funds. Parliament President Volodymyr Litvin ruled the prosecution's case was insufficiently developed and lacked concrete facts and evidence. Keiko the killer whale is likely to remain in Norway under human care for the winter, after the "Free Willy" film star swam to the Scandinavian nation following his release in Iceland, his handler said. The friendly, 6-ton orca was released from his pen in Iceland in mid-July and headed straight for the Skaalvik fjord, a swim of about 870 miles. Keiko was captured near Iceland when he was 2, spent most of his life in captivity and was airlifted to Iceland in 1998, where he was taught to catch live fish and released.

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