- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 19, 2003

Arab neighbors debate postwar Iraq
RIYADH Middle Eastern nations debated post-Saddam Hussein Iraq yesterday as the United States forged ahead with its own plans for a nation crushed by war.
Among eight countries at the first postwar regional forum was Syria, accused by Washington of sheltering Saddam's aides and developing chemical weapons. Syria denies both charges.
The Riyadh meeting was held by Saudi Arabia to discuss the implications for the region of the crushing U.S. victory. Foreign ministers of Iraq's neighbors Turkey, Iran, Syria, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Egypt and Bahrain attended.
An opening statement read at the talks criticized what it said were U.S. threats against Syria and called for the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq to be as brief as possible.

First U.N. aid convoy crosses into Iraq
TEHRAN A U.N. aid convoy carrying drinking water for parched Iraqis drove into Iraq from Iran yesterday, the first time such aid crossed the border since the two countries fought a war in the 1980s.
A U.N. official said 11 trucks carrying about 25,000 gallons of drinking water supplied by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) crossed the frontier at Shalamcheh in southwestern Khuzestan province.
The convoy was bound for the city of Faw, not far from Iraq's second city of Basra, where the water would be given to a local religious leader for distribution to the population.

Fear of violence clouds presidential election
LAGOS Thousands of police officers and soldiers deployed across Nigeria yesterday in a show of force to opposition leaders threatening violence if they believe that this weekend's presidential elections are flawed.
Today's elections for the presidency and 36 state governorships present the biggest test for Nigeria's struggling democracy since President Olusegun Obasanjo was first elected four years ago, ending 15 years of brutal military dictatorship. He is seeking a second term. Mr. Obasanjo, a former military ruler who transformed himself into a civilian statesman, faces 19 challengers, including three former army generals.

U.S. base in Germany to stay, commander says
SOFIA A senior American military commander denied yesterday that the United States would shift its bases from Germany to the newest NATO members in Eastern Europe because of Germany's opposition to the war in Iraq.
"Germany has significantly supported behind the scenes what we did in Iraq," said Air Force Gen. Charles Wald, the deputy commander of the U.S. European Command.
But some changes are ahead, he said. The United States will establish bases in the new East European NATO members: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia and Slovakia.

USO denies attack on Chirac Web site
PARIS A U.S. servicemen's group denied yesterday that it had played any role in taking over a Web site set up by French President Jacques Chirac, who infuriated some Americans with his opposition to the war in Iraq.
Yesterday computer users trying to find Mr. Chirac's site by typing its address, www.chiracaveclafrance.net, were led to that of the United Service Organizations (USO), which declares: "Proudly Serving The Men & Women Who Serve Our Country!"
The group, however, emphatically denied that it was responsible and said later in the day that it had blocked the link between its www.uso.com home page and Mr. Chirac's site, set up last year as part of his re-election campaign.



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