- The Washington Times - Monday, November 3, 2003

AFGHANISTAN

U.N. team in Kabul tells factions to unite

KABUL — A high-level U.N. Security Council delegation arrived in Afghanistan yesterday to underline U.N. support for the government and press unruly factions to unite behind President Hamid Karzai.

Afghanistan remains high on the U.N. agenda, said Germany’s U.N. Ambassador Gunter Pleuger, leading representatives of the 15 Security Council members who flew into Kabul airport on a German military transport plane for their five-day visit.

Afghanistan has described Western donor pledges as woefully short of its needs, and says much of the money promised since the Taliban regime was ousted late in 2001 has yet to arrive.

IRAQ

Detained journalists may be freed soon

BAGHDAD — Britain’s special representative in Iraq said yesterday efforts were being speeded up to set up a process to deal with several thousand detainees held in Iraq.

Among them are Iranian director Saeed Abu Taleb and cameraman Soheil Karimi, who were arrested in southern Iraq four months ago on suspicion of spying. Iran has formally protested their detention.

“As for journalists, if they prove to be only journalists, clearly they should be examined, questioned and released if there is nothing against them,” Jeremy Greenstock said. “And I think that that will happen quite soon to those Iranian journalists.”

CHINA

Prosecutors decline to indict dissident

BEIJING — Chinese prosecutors have rejected police recommendations to indict a 23-year-old “cyber” dissident on subversion charges, citing lack of evidence, a Hong Kong human rights group said yesterday.

But Liu Di, a psychology senior at Beijing Normal University, will not be released until after prosecutors go over any additional documents or evidence submitted by the Public Security Bureau, the group said.

Miss Liu was detained in Beijing on Nov. 7 last year after posting messages in an Internet chat room calling for the release of Internet dissidents.

UNITED NATIONS

U.S. pushes for treaty banning human cloning

NEW YORK — The United States is campaigning for a U.N. General Assembly vote on a resolution calling for a treaty to ban all forms of human cloning, but 23 countries are opposed and Islamic nations want a two-year delay.

U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte sent letters to ambassadors from about 100 countries saying a delay would be “extremely unfortunate” and urging them to adopt the resolution in a vote on Thursday in the General Assembly’s legal committee.

“There is a need to act now to confront the emerging threat of human cloning,” Mr. Negroponte said.

GEORGIA

Parliamentary vote hit by irregularities

TBILISI — Parliamentary elections, seen as a guide to the successor of veteran President Eduard Shevardnadze in 2005, got off to a bumpy start yesterday with some polling places failing to open and electoral lists incomplete.

But initial confusion in the volatile former Soviet state eased as the day went on. By afternoon, voting was proceeding smoothly at most polling places.

The outcome could affect a pipeline being constructed to carry Caspian Sea oil through Georgia and Turkey to Western markets.


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