- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 19, 2003

Warlords said to be hampering recovery
KABUL Reconstruction of Afghanistan is being hurt by wayward provincial governors and warlords more interested in expanding their power bases than helping the country recover from decades of war, Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali said Thursday.
"We have to rebuild this destroyed country without trying to refer to what we did in the past to get privileges now in terms of building power, wielding power at the expense of the reconstruction and security of the country," he said at a news conference.
"People fought to gain independence, to force the foreign troops out of Afghanistan in the 1980s, and also later on, people fought to save the country from the vestiges of extremism of the Taliban and foreign interference," he said.
"However, now the fight is for reconstruction. Those who try to use their jihad credentials to build personal power for themselves are actually not contributing to reconstruction of the country," he said, referring to governors and warlords trying to capitalize on their former exploits as anti-Taliban or anti-Soviet fighters.

Monarchy not on table, state news agency says
KATHMANDU The future of Nepal's constitutional monarchy would not be negotiable in forthcoming peace talks with Maoist rebels, a domestic news agency reported the government as saying Thursday.
"There will be no discussion on the constitutional monarchy and multiparty democracy … during the talks with the Maoists," state-run RSS news agency quoted Deputy Prime Minister Badri Prasad Mandal as saying. Mr. Mandal was appointed Wednesday as the government's chief negotiator in talks to end the seven-year revolt that has claimed more than 7,200 lives.
There was no immediate comment from the rebels, who have said they would accept on an interim basis a multiparty democracy in which the "people have the real power," and have demanded the election of a constitutional assembly to draft a new constitution.

Weekly notes …
Bangladesh officials said South Asian regional issues will top the agenda when Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga begins a two-day visit to Dhaka today. A Foreign Ministry official said the visitor and Bangladesh Prime Minister Khaleda Zia would cover bilateral and regional issues, including making the seven-nation South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation "more dynamic." A planned January SAARC summit in Islamabad was put off because of differences between India and Pakistan, the group's two biggest members. … Burma came under fire from a United Nations panel in Geneva Wednesday for human rights violations including killings and torture. The U.N. Human Rights Commission adopted a European Union-sponsored resolution voicing grave concern about Burma's "ongoing systematic violation of human rights."

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