- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 9, 2006

VENEZUELA

Chavez likely to cut relations with Israel

CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said yesterday he would likely sever relations with Israel in protest over Israel’s military campaign against Lebanon.

Mr. Chavez, a harsh critic of the United States who expresses sympathy for the Palestinian people, announced last week he had ordered the withdrawal of Venezuela’s ambassador in Israel. In response, Israel withdrew its chief diplomat in Caracas.

“We have withdrawn our diplomatic representation from the state of Israel and they have also withdrawn their ambassador,” Mr. Chavez said during an evening speech. “The most likely next step will be for us to break diplomatic relations, because I have no interest in maintaining diplomatic relations, or offices, or businesses, or anything with a state like Israel.”

SRI LANKA

Tamil rebels lift water blockade

COLOMBO — Tamil rebels released water from a disputed reservoir yesterday in Sri Lanka, ending a 19-day blockade that sparked some of the worst fighting between government troops and guerrillas in four years.

In the capital, a car bomb killed two persons, including a 3-year-old girl, police said.

On July 20, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels blocked water supplies to 60,000 people in government-controlled villages in northeastern Trincomalee district, 135 miles northeast of Colombo. The group said the move was aimed at forcing the government to fulfill the needs of people in rebel-held villages.

CUBA

Senior dissident Arcos dies at 79

HAVANA — Gustavo Arcos Bergnes, who fought alongside Fidel Castro in the Cuban revolution but was later imprisoned for counterrevolutionary activities, died yesterday, according to a neighbor and the mortuary handling arrangements. He was 79. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Mr. Arcos was studying diplomatic law at the University of Havana when he first met Mr. Castro. Deeply opposed to the government of Fulgencio Batista, he joined Mr. Castro’s ill-fated 1953 assault on a military barracks that started the Cuban revolution. Mr. Arcos was shot in the right hip and left partially paralyzed.

Mr. Arcos was named Cuba’s ambassador to Belgium after the 1959 triumph of the Cuban revolution, but soon became disillusioned by the growing authoritarianism of the Castro regime.

CHAD

Gadhafi helps revive ties with Sudan

N’DJAMENA — Chad and Sudan decided yesterday to restore diplomatic relations broken off in April after a rebel attack on N’Djamena that the Chadian government blamed on Khartoum, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said after meeting the presidents of the two countries.

The Libyan leader said President Idriss Deby of Chad and his Sudanese counterpart Omar Hassan al-Bashir had agreed to implement a July 26 deal to defuse tension on their common border and stop cross-border attacks by rebels.

RUSSIA

Kim Il-sung, wife honored for WWII role

MOSCOW — Russia awarded the late parents of the current North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, with medals honoring their contribution to the victory in World War II, officials quoted by the ITAR-Tass news agency said yesterday.

These medals, awarded to North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung and his wife, Kim Jong-suk, “are granted to active participants in the Second World War as a sign of gratitude from the modern generations for their valor and courage,” officials in the celebration committee said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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