- The Washington Times - Monday, October 20, 2003

IRAN

EU delegation takeson nuclear mission

TEHRAN — British, French and German foreign ministers headed to Iran yesterday with a carrot-and-stick proposal aimed at persuading Tehran to dispel fears that its nuclear program is part of a secret bid to make atomic bombs.

“Resolving the doubts surrounding Iran’s nuclear program is of grave concern to the European Union and wider international community,” British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said in a statement.

Diplomats said the key issue in today’s talks would be whether Iran insisted on continuing its plans to complete the entire nuclear fuel cycle, including enriching uranium.

A senior Iranian official hinted for the first time Sunday that Tehran could mothball uranium-enrichment facilities it began building in 1985. Some Western powers fear they could be used to produce weapons-grade uranium.

RUSSIA

Soyuz crew dockswith space station

MOSCOW — A Russian spacecraft filled in for the second time since the U.S. shuttle program was grounded this year after the Feb. 1 Columbia disaster, delivering a three-member crew yesterday to the International Space Station.

A top Russian space official warned, however, that funding problems could jeopardize future missions.

American Michael Foale, Russian Alexander Kaleri and Spaniard Pedro Duque entered the space station after the autopilot docking of their spacecraft, two days after the Soyuz blasted off from Kazakhstan.

COLOMBIA

Troops killrebel leader

BOGOTA — Colombian troops have killed a guerrilla commander accused of kidnapping three U.S. military contractors and a former Colombian presidential candidate, the army said yesterday.

Edgar Gustavo Navarro, the No. 2 leader of an elite unit of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, was killed during a gunfight Sunday along with 10 other rebels, said army Gen. Hector Martinez.

He said Mr. Navarro was behind the kidnapping of Americans Tom Howes, Marc Gonsalves and Keith Stansell after their single-engine plane crash-landed in FARC-controlled territory on Feb. 13 while on a counterdrug mission.

The rebels reportedly executed a fourth American, Tom Janis, and a Colombian soldier, Sgt. Luis Alcides Cruz, who also were on board.

THAILAND

Powell focuseson Sudan conflict

BANGKOK — Secretary of State Colin L. Powell turns his attention today to the conflict in Sudan, one of the priorities he set when he took office early in 2001.

Sensing a potential success for U.S. diplomacy, Mr. Powell will fly from Bangkok to Nairobi, Kenya, to meet representatives of the Sudanese government and southern rebels, who are in peace talks in the Kenyan town of Naivasha.

U.S. officials have played down expectations he can pull off a final agreement when he sees the negotiators tomorrow, but they hope he can speed up the talks.

A peace agreement in Sudan could transform relations between the United States and Sudan, which the State Department lists as a “state sponsor of terrorism.”

JORDAN

King to namenew prime minister

AMMAN — Prime Minister Ali Abu al-Ragheb has tendered his resignation, and King Abdullah is expected to appoint a successor in the next few days, senior politicians said yesterday.

The leading candidate was Faisal al-Fayez, currently royal court minister and a member of a prominent East Bank tribe with historically close links to the Hashemite royal family.

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