- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Bouteflika seeks additional powers

ALGIERS — The government is considering a constitutional amendment to allow President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to run for a third five-year term. The constitution limits the president to two consecutive terms.

Foreign Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem said yesterday the amendment may be enacted after the Sept. 29 referendum on Mr. Bouteflika’s peace and national reconciliation plan, under which Muslim extremists who renounce violence would get amnesty.

An anonymous official source said the president was given a draft for the amendment allowing a third consecutive term and proposing political changes favored by Mr. Bouteflika, including giving the president more powers than Parliament and the right to appoint the prime minister.


Grand mufti faults Zarqawi’s Iraq war

RIYADH — Grand Mufti Sheik Abdul Aziz al-Asheikh has condemned those attempting to plunge Iraq into civil war, the Arba News reports:

“Adding to the bloodshed and murder of innocents by planes and bombs are attempts by suspicious parties to trigger sectarian tension between the people of Iraq.” The grand mufti condemned jihadis for serving “the aims of the enemies conspiring against Muslims.”

Last week, Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, declared all-out war on Iraq’s Shi’ite majority. Iraq’s Committee of Muslim Scholars, the nation’s main Sunni Arab religious authority, has condemned the Zarqawi declaration as well.


Unity government awaited no longer

KHARTOUM — Officials yesterday announced the lineup of a much-delayed unity government, eight months after a north-south peace agreement ended more than two decades of civil war.

The creation of Sudan’s first national unity government is a major step in implementing the peace accord signed Jan. 9 by the regime in Khartoum and the former southern rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). The government was supposed to have been in place by Aug. 9, but its formation was delayed by the death of former rebel leader John Garang in a July 30 helicopter crash and wrangling over official posts.

Weekly notes

A U.S. Air Force officer was killed and two others injured in a car accident in Egypt where they had been participating in military exercises. A U.S. Army spokesman told reporters in Cairo yesterday the accident occurred Monday in a desert area west of Alexandria. The Bright Star 2005 exercises began last week and continue until Oct. 3 with the participation of a dozen countries. … Lebanon’s public prosecutor yesterday accused four persons of withholding information about the Feb. 14 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The suspects, all owners of cellular phone shops, were charged with providing confusing and wrong information about the identities of purchasers of mobile phones thought to have been used in the plot.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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