- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 13, 2003

GERMANY

Baker visit to prompt

hardball demands

BERLIN — The U.S. special envoy for Iraq’s debt, James A. Baker III, can “expect no result” from his visit to Germany next week if Washington insists on preventing Berlin from tendering for reconstruction work in Iraq, according to a senior German minister.

“You can’t have everyone sharing the risks while keeping the economic advantages in the hands of a single country,” Cooperation and Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul told Der Spiegel magazine, due on news stands tomorrow.

Mr. Baker leaves for Europe tomorrow on a trip that will take him to France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Britain. His aim is to try to convince leaders of the need to lighten Iraq’s crippling debt burden of about $120 billion.

LITHUANIA

President hints at resignation

VILNIUS — President Rolandas Paksas has signaled he might give up his fight to cling to power as parliamentary efforts to impeach him over accusations that his office has links to Russian organized crime gained momentum.

Political tremors hit Lithuania in October after security services accused Mr. Paksas of being a security threat because his office was too close to Russian mobsters. The charge prompted mass protests, a parliamentary probe and a separate investigation by prosecutors.

Mr. Paksas has denied the accusations but acknowledged his resolve to fight on was faltering in the face of growing pressure from parliament.

FRANCE

Fishermen block ports in protest

PARIS — Fishermen disrupted major French ports last week to protest proposed cuts to fishing quotas in the European Union that they say will further reduce jobs in their struggling industry.

Fishermen formed barriers with their trawlers to keep other vessels out of the ports. EU fisheries ministers are to begin a new round of negotiations over fishing quotas Wednesday and also will debate a recovery program for cod.

Weekly notes …

Queen Elizabeth II left a London hospital yesterday, a day after she underwent successful knee surgery and had benign skin lesions removed from her face. … Opera singer Luciano Pavarotti,68, married his longtime partner and producer Nicoletta Mantovani, 34, yesterday in a song-filled, celebrity-studded ceremony held in the main theater of the tenor’s hometown of Modena, Italy. The guest list included Sting and his wife, Trudy Styler, Bono and his family, designers Donatella Versace, Alberta Ferretti and Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, actress Gina Lollobrigida and Italian soccer star Alessandro Del Piero.


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