- The Washington Times - Monday, December 8, 2003

EGYPT

Palestinians fail to set cease-fire

CAIRO — Palestinians yesterday failed to reach agreement on a truce offer to Israel, even a conditional one, after three days of talks mired in arguments, delegates said.

Negotiators from Palestinian factions — including Hamas and Islamic Jihad — were split over whether to offer a full cease-fire or a limited truce that would stop attacks only inside Israel.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia, who joined the talks in Cairo in the hopes of pulling off a deal, left the Egyptian capital without an agreement.

Maher Taher, a senior delegate from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said disagreements over the degree of the cease-fire could not be bridged.

ARGENTINA

Apology demanded over British ships

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina’s president said Britain should apologize for using nuclear-armed ships during the 1982 Falklands War, but Britain denied yesterday that such weapons were used in the conflict.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense has said that some of its naval ships had carried nuclear weapons during the war, but that they hadn’t entered Latin American waters.

“A decision was taken before the conflict that the weapons would not be used,” the ministry said yesterday. “However, it was decided that to delay the task force by some 36 hours in order to offload the weapons in the [United Kingdom] was unacceptable.”

NIGERIA

Commonwealth keeps Zimbabwe sanctions

ABUJA — Zimbabwe said yesterday that it was quitting the Commonwealth, after the organization said it was extending its suspension of the southern African country.

Its government said President Robert Mugabe had told the leaders of Jamaica, Nigeria and South Africa in telephone conversations that Harare could not accept the Commonwealth’s position.

“Accordingly, Zimbabwe has withdrawn its membership from the Commonwealth with immediate effect,” it said in a statement.

Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth last year on the grounds that Mr. Mugabe had rigged his re-election and persecuted opponents.

PHILIPPINES

Abu Sayyaf leader said to have been captured

MANILA — Philippine soldiers captured a senior leader of the Abu Sayyaf, an Islamist militant group believed responsible for kidnapping 21 persons from a Malaysian resort in April 2000, officials said yesterday.

Ghalib Andang, known as Commander Robot, was captured by soldiers late yesterday in the southern Philippines after being wounded in a firefight, a military spokesman and other army sources said.

The victims of the abduction from the Sipadan resort in Malaysia were held for periods varying from a few months to three years.

NICARAGUA

Former leader gets 20-year jail term

MANAGUA — Former President Arnoldo Aleman was sentenced yesterday to 20 years in prison for corruption, officials announced.

Aleman, president from 1997 to 2002, was found guilty on charges that included money laundering, fraud, embezzlement and electoral crimes, Judge Juana Mendez announced.

On Wednesday a judge released Aleman, 57, from jail and put him under house arrest at his ranch on health grounds.


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