- The Washington Times - Monday, November 17, 2003

IRAN

EU official calls Tehran honest

BRUSSELS — European Union foreign-policy chief Javier Solana said yesterday Iran had been honest so far about its nuclear program and said he hoped it would not be reported to the U.N. Security Council for any sanctions.

His comments came as France, Britain and Germany circulated a draft resolution at the U.N. nuclear watchdog, which diplomats said was certain to disappoint Washington, because it did not say Iran had violated a global pact against atomic weapons.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, due to meet EU foreign ministers today, disputed Mr. Solana’s comments, saying he “wouldn’t have gone quite so far” when crediting Tehran for its honesty.

FRANCE

13 suspects held in antiterrorism sweep

PARIS — French antiterrorism police took 13 persons into custody yesterday in a sweep against Islamic militants in the Paris region, police said.

The suspects were detained in several locations in and around Paris, and several thousand dollars were seized, police said.

For weeks, French police have been working to crack a counterfeiting network that uses its proceeds to finance an Islamic militant movement.

TURKEY

Islamic suspects seen in synagogue attack

ISTANBUL — Police trying to identify suicide car-bombers who devastated two Istanbul synagogues suspect two corpses found near the blasts were militant Islamic outlaws, Turkey’s Anatolian news agency said yesterday.

One of the two bodies was thought to be that of a member of a little-known group called the Islamic Movement. The other was thought to be that of a member of the Turkish militant group the Islamic Great Eastern Raiders Front.

Earlier in the day, authorities said film of one bomber caught on camera an instant before his vehicle exploded was being enhanced for further help in identification. Meanwhile, a 37-year-old critically wounded in Saturday’s attacks died yesterday, bringing the death toll to 25.

GERMANY

Schroeder confirmed as party leader

BOCHUM — Germany’s Social Democrats re-elected Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder as their party leader yesterday after he said his plans to trim benefits and job protection were “bitterly necessary.”

In a keynote speech to more than 500 delegates at a party conference, Mr. Schroeder highlighted his opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq and mounted a passionate defense of the welfare state.

PARAGUAY

Brazil extradites Hezbollah suspect

ASUNCION — Brazil yesterday extradited to Paraguay a Lebanese-born businessman whom officials say acted as a leader and fund-raiser of the Islamic militant group Hezbollah, listed by the United States as a terrorist organization.

Paraguayan authorities have accused Assad Ahmad Barakat, 35, of financing “terrorist activities” from a lawless tri-border area shared by Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Washington suspects that Islamic militants are being bankrolled from the region.

ESTONIA

Coalition collapses over tax-cut dispute

TALLINN — Estonia’s ruling right-wing coalition collapsed yesterday as a junior party representing farmers pulled out in protest against plans to cut personal income taxes.

The decision by the People’s Union rocked the government as it was preparing for the final reading of the 2004 budget in parliament, depriving Prime Minister Juhan Parts of a majority.


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