- The Washington Times - Monday, August 8, 2005


Oil-for-food target resigns from $1 job

NEW YORK — Benon Sevan, the former administrator of the U.N. oil-for-food program for Iraq, “resigned” in anger yesterday — one day before an independent committee is expected to release the results of a probe into possible wrongdoing by the Cypriot national.

In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Mr. Sevan — who retired from the organization last year but has been kept on as a $1-a-year adviser to ensure his cooperation with the investigation — accused his friend of nearly 40 years of bowing to political pressure.

“As I predicted, a high-profile investigative body invested with absolute power would feel compelled to target someone, and that someone has turned out to be me,” Mr. Sevan wrote. “The charges are false, and you, who have known me all these years, should know that they are false.”


Anti-U.S. cooperation sought from Syria

TEHRAN — Iran’s newly inaugurated president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, called yesterday for closer cooperation with Syria in the face of pressure on both countries from the United States.

“The existence of common threats requires more cooperation between Tehran and Damascus,” the official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Mr. Ahmadinejad as saying at a press conference with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Mr. Assad arrived earlier in the day, becoming the first foreign leader to visit Iran’s new president, who took the oath of office on Saturday.


Chavez allies expect boost in local elections

CARACAS — Venezuelans voted for municipal and neighborhood councils yesterday, with allies of President Hugo Chavez expected to benefit from his popularity and solidify their control over local authorities.

The elections for 5,599 posts, including one state governor and two mayors, could illustrate voter mood before key National Assembly polls in December.

Chavez opponents were fighting to recover from a defeat in last year’s presidential referendum and struggled to present a clear message, with some leaders calling on voters to abstain.


Police open fire on Shi’ite rioters

SAMAWA — Hundreds of Iraqis angry at poor public services rioted in the town of Samawa south of Baghdad yesterday, and police opened fire on the crowd, killing one person and wounding 40, hospital sources and witnesses said.

Residents of the normally calm, mainly Shi’ite town burned vehicles, including a police car, just outside the governor’s office and demanded his resignation, the witnesses said.

Samawa is largely free of guerrilla violence but suffers from power and water shortages more than two years after a U.S.-led invasion toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.


Terror suspect faces extradition

LONDON — British police arrested terror suspect Haroon Rashid Aswat yesterday on a U.S. extradition warrant, which accuses him of setting up a militant training camp in Oregon.

The 30-year-old British citizen was arrested at Northolt military air base in northwestern London after being deported from Zambia and was scheduled to appear in court in central London today.

British police said the U.S. warrant accuses Mr. Aswat of plotting with others from October 1999 to April 2000 to train and equip people to fight in Afghanistan.

Also yesterday, British police charged two more suspects — Ibrahim Muktar Said and Ramzi Mohammed — in the failed July 21 London attacks. Both were arrested in raids in west London on July 29, police said.


Garang’s successor to be sworn in

KHARTOUM — Southern Sudanese leader Salva Kiir will be sworn in tomorrow in Khartoum as Sudan’s first vice president in succession to John Garang, killed late last month in a helicopter crash, the presidency said yesterday.

Mr. Garang was the leader of the former rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, which in January signed a peace deal to end a long civil war in Sudan’s south.

Mr. Kiir will begin work immediately on forming a new coalition government as outlined in the peace deal.


Egyptian under watch detained in Cancun

MEXICO CITY — Police have detained an Egyptian man who appears on the U.S. “flight restriction” list as he and a compatriot tried to board an airplane in the Caribbean beach resort of Cancun, police said yesterday.

Mohamed Moustafa Abdel Aziz Shahim, 26, was headed for Mexico City accompanied by Ali Ozman Adham, 36, when police picked them up Saturday.

Mr. Shahim’s name appeared on a list of people under watch by the United States, police said. They were handed over to immigration authorities.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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