- The Washington Times - Monday, July 28, 2003


Decision on Iraq troops not likely this month

ANKARA — The foreign minister said yesterday Turkey would work with the United States in Iraq but it would take time to respond to a U.S. request to send Turkish troops to help secure its war-torn neighbor.

Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said on his return from a trip to Washington that a decision on any troop deployment would not come before parliament adjourns for its summer recess Friday.

“Turkey contributing to the peace force in Iraq was discussed [in Washington],” Mr. Gul said.

“This is not a matter that will become clear today or tomorrow,” he said, adding the government would seek the views of Turkey’s influential military before making its decision.


Arab stations accused of anti-U.S. reporting

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, accusing two Arab satellite channels of biased reporting from Iraq, said yesterday Washington was talking to unnamed governments to try to get more “balanced” coverage — so far without success.

Mr. Wolfowitz said in an interview on Fox News yesterday that the Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya channels were guilty of “very biased reporting that has the effect of inciting violence against our troops.”

He said the channels were connected to foreign governments, “and these governments should stop and realize that this is not a game, that they’re endangering the lives of American troops. … So far, I think the answer we’re getting is that those broadcasts are continuing, and that’s not satisfactory.”


Minister censures U.S. over Middle East policies

DAMASCUS — Syria yesterday said the Bush administration was “violent and foolish” and that U.S. policies on the Middle East were influenced by Israel.

Foreign Minister Farouq Shara also accused Washington of avoiding any rapprochement with Damascus so as not to annoy Israel.

“This administration is extraordinary. Maybe there have been some similar administrations in the past but not with this high level of violence and foolishness,” Mr. Shara told reporters.

President Bush accused Syria last week of harboring and assisting unspecified “terrorists” and warned that any state doing this would be held accountable.


Fifteen desert hostages on verge of release

ALGIERS — Fifteen European tourists held for almost five months in Algeria’s Sahara desert by suspected Islamic rebels could be freed soon, an Algerian daily said yesterday.

Ten Germans, four Swiss and one Dutchman were kidnapped in late February and early March while traveling without guides in separate groups in the North African country’s south.

Security sources said the kidnappers had accepted an offer from the armed forces to free the hostages as long as they were given safe passage to neighboring Mali.


Explosion and grenades mar landmark election

PHNOM PENH — A small homemade bomb exploded outside the headquarters of Cambodia’s royalist Funcinpec party yesterday, marring an otherwise peaceful election day in the troubled Southeast Asian nation.

One person was slightly injured in the blast, which left scorch marks on pavement outside the Funcinpec gates. The discovery of two grenades in a plastic bag near the Royal Palace dealt a further blow to the fledgling democracy.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, an ex-Khmer Rouge soldier, and his Cambodian People’s Party looks set to win. Full results are not due until Aug. 8 because of the problems of retrieving ballot boxes from remote jungle outposts.

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