- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 18, 2003

SOUTH AFRICA

Government to honor Sisulu with official rites

PRETORIA — The government decided yesterday to give anti-apartheid hero Walter Sisulu an official funeral in the Johannesburg township of Soweto next week.

Mr. Sisulu, who died Monday at age 90, will be buried May 17 in Soweto, where his home was a haven for young activists in the 1940s. Memorial services will be held in Pretoria May 13, and in Soweto May 15.

Mr. Sisulu, who spent more than 25 years in prison for opposing the former white-only regime, was sentenced in the highly publicized Rivonia trial of 1964 to imprisonment on Robben Island, off Cape Town, from where he was released early with others in 1989. “We have lost a remarkable man,” said former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Mr. Sisulu, who fought apartheid for more than 60 years, brought Mr. Mandela into the African National Congress.

LIBERIA

New U.N. sanctions called ‘unfair, hypocritical’

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — Liberia said yesterday that the United Nations’ Security Council was “hypocritical” and showed “double standards” by extending 2-year-old sanctions against the African country for 12 months.

“It is unfair,” Information Minister Reginald Goodridge told Agence France-Presse by telephone from Monrovia. “What adds insult to injury is that the U.N. panel of experts recently said in a report that there is nothing to justify the continuation of sanctions.”

The Security Council extended the sanctions Tuesday with the aim of halting the spread of the Liberian conflict to neighboring countries. They include an arms embargo, a ban on trade in rough diamonds, and restrictions on air travel by senior Liberian government and military officials.

IVORY COAST

Peacekeepers downplay reports of skirmishes

ABIDJAN — West African peacekeepers in Ivory Coast played down reports this week of skirmishes that raised questions about a new cease-fire intended to end the civil war.

The rebels accused Liberians fighting with Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo’s forces on Tuesday of attacking their positions in the west a day earlier, but said they remained committed to the cease-fire signed during the weekend in the former French colony.

Weekly notes …

A meningitis epidemic in the west African state of Niger has claimed nearly 500 lives since the beginning of the year, hospital authorities said Tuesday. At least 498 deaths were reported from 6,550 officially registered cases of cerebrospinal meninigitis at health centers from Jan. 1 to April 7, they said. The worst-hit area is Zinder, near the border with Nigeria to the south. … Ghana’s former ruler Jerry Rawlings led a noisy but peaceful protest Tuesday against the government of his successor, President John Kufuor, to denounce spiraling prices, corruption and fiscal mismanagement during its two years in power. About 5,000 supporters from Mr. Rawlings’ National Democratic Congress marched through the streets of Accra, the capital, shouting insults at the New Patriotic Party government.


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