- The Washington Times - Monday, May 23, 2005

IRAN

Hard-liners reject reformist candidates

TEHRAN — Iran’s hard-line Guardian Council has rejected all reformists who registered to run in presidential elections, approving only six out of the 1,010 hopefuls, state television reported yesterday.

The approved candidates for the June 17 vote included powerful former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, seen as a front-runner in the race.

Former Culture Minister Mostafa Moin, who was the sole candidate of Iran’s largest reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, was among those disqualified.

ETHIOPIA

Voting is repeated for six disputed seats

ADDIS ABABA — Fresh elections were held in Ethiopia yesterday for six disputed seats after candidates complained of fraud in the May 15 voting, the electoral board said.

The Ethiopian Election Board has said it is investigating charges of major voting fraud leveled by the ruling party and the opposition in the country’s second set of real multiparty elections to be held in Africa’s top coffee grower.

The main opposition coalitions and the ruling party of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi have claimed victory in the elections to the 547-seat federal parliament. The vote in six seats will not materially change the situation.

CHILE

Bad weather hampers search for soldiers

LOS ANGELES — Wind and snow complicated a fifth search day yesterday for more than 20 soldiers feared frozen to death in the Andes in Chile’s worst peacetime military disaster, as families began to bury 23 young men whose bodies have been recovered so far.

At least 45 mostly ill-equipped teenage recruits probably died in a blinding blizzard that hit Wednesday during a yearly mountain military exercise on the Antuco volcano near the Argentine border in southern Chile.

Harsh weather grounded helicopters with heat-detecting equipment and hampered foot patrols,and the army’s press department radio, reports said.

EGYPT

Troops would support Gaza pullout plan

DEAD SEA, Jordan — Egypt plans to deploy 1,500 to 2,000 troops along its border with Israel to ensure an “orderly” Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, Egypt’s foreign minister said yesterday.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, speaking on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum meeting at the Dead Sea in Jordan, said that was in addition to 750 forces it plans to deploy along its border with the Gaza Strip, under a security plan it is discussing with Israel.

Those numbers are “subject to the understandings that we are trying to reach with the Israelis. We are not yet fully there,” Mr. Aboul Gheit said.

KYRGYZSTAN

Uzbeks on border deemed not refugees

OSH — Hundreds of Uzbeks who fled into neighboring Kyrgyzstan to escape violence in their Central Asian country are not refugees and must return home, a senior Kyrgyz official said yesterday.

International pressure has been mounting on Kyrgyzstan to grant political asylum to more than 500 Uzbeks, who fled the May 13 violence in the eastern city of Andijan.

But Kyrgyz presidential envoy Almambet Matubraimov told the Associated Press that his government would not provide political asylum for all camp residents.

“We don’t consider them refugees,” he said. “We are trying to send them back.”

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