- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 28, 2004

BRITAIN

Blair supporters slam ex-official

LONDON — Supporters of British Prime Minister Tony Blair hit back yesterday at Clare Short, the former Cabinet minister who said that London spied on U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan during the tense weeks leading to the invasion of Iraq.

Mr. Blair himself set the tone by describing Mrs. Short’s revelation as “deeply irresponsible” and telling followers in his ruling Labor Party that her claims were providing ammunition for his political opponents.

Home Secretary David Blunkett, Britain’s interior minister, and other senior party figures also jumped into the fray, accusing Mrs. Short of personal vindictiveness against Mr. Blair.

VATICAN

Pope calls gay ‘marriage’ degrading

VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II urged authorities yesterday to stop approving same-sex “marriages,” saying they “degrade” the true sense of marriage between a man and a woman.

For the second time in a week, the pontiff has raised the issue, which is making headlines in the United States as same-sex couples “marry” in cities like San Francisco and New Paltz, N.Y.

John Paul said a family based on marriage between a man and a woman was a pillar of society that justly had rights and duties specific to it.

GREECE

Opposition reaches out to Turkey

ATHENS — The leader of Greece’s conservative opposition, Costas Caramanlis, whose party is favored to win forthcoming legislative elections, yesterday sent a “message of cooperation” to the country’s long-time rival Turkey.

“We are sending a message of cooperation to the Turkish people. We are working for the normalization of Greek-Turkish relations,” Mr. Caramanlis said.

“We want cooperation and sincere relations,” he said at a political meeting on Lesvos, an island near the Turkish coast in the eastern Aegean, the sea that separates the two nations.

He also repeated a request for a reduction in military spending by both countries.

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

Macedonian leader seeks crash details

SARAJEVO — Macedonian Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski arrived in Sarajevo yesterday to receive the latest information on an investigation into a plane crash in which President Boris Trajkovski and eight other people were killed.

“Tomorrow morning, we will go to Mostar,” Mr. Crvenkovski, accompanied by Interior Minister Hari Kostov, told journalists at the airport.

The plane crashed early on Thursday in heavy fog and rain as it approached the airport in the southern Bosnian town of Mostar, where Mr. Trajkovski had been due to attend a conference.

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