- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 1, 2003


Longtime Asian rivals agree to economic links

ST. PETERSBURG — The leaders of China and India put aside traditional distrust when they met for the first time yesterday and agreed to build economic links between the world’s two most populous nations.

An Indian official said Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee would announce in the next few days a date to visit Beijing this year, the first by an Indian prime minister in a decade.

“This helped them to get to know each other and prepare for that visit,” the official said after the meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the 300th-anniversary celebrations of St. Petersburg.


Parliament approves troops for Iraq duty

ASTANA — Kazakhstan will shortly send peacekeepers to join the Iraq Stabilization Force after the overwhelming approval of such a move by the country’s parliament Friday, a government spokesman announced.

The action, proposed to the parliament by President Nursultan Nazarbayev, was approved on a 30-1 vote in the upper house and by 59 members in the 77-seat lower house, or Majlis.

“Kazakhstan’s participation in the peaceful rebuilding of Iraq is fully consistent with the activities of our country aimed at providing and consolidating regional and international security,” he said in a message to parliament.


Geldof accuses West of ignoring latest famine

ADDIS ABABA — Live Aid founder Bob Geldof accused Western donors yesterday of “criminal negligence” in drought-afflicted Ethiopia, saying a lack of aid has killed tens of thousands of people.

Aid agencies estimate that 14 million Ethiopians are at risk of starvation after the worst drought in almost two decades. There is no official figure of how many people have died.

On the final day of a visit to the Horn of Africa country, Mr. Geldof said the situation in some areas was worse than he had witnessed in 1985, when famine prompted him to organize the world’s biggest rock concert to help the starving.


Air Canada, pilots face crucial deadline

MONTREAL — Air Canada and its 3,400 pilots neared a midnight deadline last night to agree on job and wage cuts, and keep the insolvent carrier from being grounded at the start of the peak travel season.

If no agreement is reached, a Canadian judge could ground the airline as soon as today, stranding tens of thousands of passengers. Both sides were still in talks late last night, Air Canada spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur said.

“We remain confident that we will reach a deal with the pilots,” she said.

Air Canada said it was “business as usual” and asked clients to book their flights with confidence, but travel agents across the country have started to draw up contingency plans.


Pakistan’s help sought in pursuit of al Qaeda

TEHRAN — Iran, accused by the United States of harboring al Qaeda terrorists, urged Pakistan yesterday to join it in fighting terrorism by stopping al Qaeda fighters from slipping into Iran across its eastern border.

“Iran and Pakistan’s joint campaign against terrorism, particularly against the al Qaeda group, is important,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Supreme National Security Council chief Hassan Rohani as saying.

“The best way to confront al Qaeda is through regional cooperation, and … Pakistan should do its utmost to prevent al Qaeda members from entering into Iran,” Mr. Rohani told Pakistani Foreign Minister Mian Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri.

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