- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 9, 2003

AFGHANISTAN

Fighting warlords accept cease-fire

MAZAR-E-SHARIF — Rival pro-government factions in Afghanistan agreed to a cease-fire yesterday after some of the worst fighting since the fall of the Taliban raised doubts over a key U.N.-backed disarmament plan.

The mainly Uzbek Junbish faction and the mainly Tajik Jamiat group agreed to the cease-fire after crisis talks involving the central government, the British ambassador and U.N. officials, Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali told reporters.

IRAN

U.S. expects token cooperation

LONDON — A senior U.S. official predicted yesterday that Iran will seek to “throw sand” in the world’s eyes to prevent a showdown over an Oct. 31 deadline for Tehran to dispel international suspicion of its nuclear ambitions.

“They will try and throw sand in our eyes and use a modest level of cooperation to hide some level of obfuscation and lack of cooperation, to conceal as much as they can, to delay, to fight for time, and to avoid having the issue referred to the [U.N.] Security Council,” U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton told reporters in London, speaking about the deadline set by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In a tough resolution last month, the IAEA gave Iran until Oct. 31 to dispel doubts about its atomic ambitions and is demanding rigorous inspections of suspect sites. Washington is urging strong U.N. measures against Tehran,.

SYRIA

Nation unhappy with U.S. sanctions

DAMASCUS — Preliminary U.S. congressional approval of sanctions against Syria was a “biased and illogical act” that will fuel Israeli extremists, damage U.S.-Syria relations and dim prospects for peace in the Middle East, a Syrian official said yesterday.

Imad Mustapha, charge d’affaires at the Syrian Embassy in Washington, spoke to the Associated Press a day after the House International Relations Committee approved the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act, which would give the president the right to impose a variety of sanctions on Syria.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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