- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 12, 2006

ISRAEL

Sharon said stable but still comatose

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has been comatose since suffering a massive stroke more than five weeks ago, was in critical but stable condition yesterday after emergency abdominal surgery, the hospital treating him said.

Though the surgery was successful, Mr. Sharon’s doctors said hope was fading for the prime minister to wake from his coma. Since the stroke, Mr. Sharon has been hooked up to a breathing tube. A feeding tube was inserted into his stomach on Feb. 1.

Mr. Sharon, 77, was rushed into surgery Saturday morning after an abdominal scan revealed dead tissue in his digestive system.

SUDAN

Annan will ask Bush to contribute troops

NEW YORK — U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan intends to ask President Bush today what the United States can contribute to a mobile U.N. force to stop the killings, rape and pillaging in Sudan’s Darfur region.

The United States has offered military planners for the Darfur operation, which will arrive today. But it has made no offer of air coverage or other assistance for the venture, expected to comprise mainly African and Asian troops.

Mr. Annan said Darfur’s plight, which the United States has characterized as genocide, was too dire for rich nations to simply provide funds but no troops.

IRAN

Commitment pledged to nuclear arms treaty

TEHRAN — Iran reaffirmed its commitment to a nuclear arms control treaty yesterday and urged a peaceful solution to the international crisis over concerns it is seeking to develop atomic weapons.

In Vienna, Austria, a diplomat said Saturday that some U.N. seals and cameras had been removed from Iranian nuclear sites within the past few days, suggesting that happened without international supervision.

But Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Iran would cooperate with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the safeguards it provides.

HAITI

Protesters angered as poll count drags

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Protests in support of presidential favorite Rene Preval broke out in Haiti’s capital yesterday as a slow vote count indicated he was just shy of the 50 percent he needs to avoid a runoff.

Some Preval supporters, accusing the electoral council of manipulating the count, threatened to turn the demonstrations violent if Mr. Preval is not declared the first-round winner. Election officials deny wrongdoing.

Mr. Preval was leading a field of 33 candidates with 49.1 percent of the vote, five days after Haitians swarmed the polls to elect a new president.

ALGERIA

Rumsfeld proposes closer relations

ALGIERS — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said during a joint appearance with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika yesterday that Washington intended to deepen its military and counterterrorism ties with Algeria.

His 5 -hour visit to Algeria was part of a three-day, three-nation tour designed to show U.S. support for moderate North African countries amid worries about Islamist extremism. He arrived from Tunisia and was to travel next to Morocco.

Asked whether the United States would make military cooperation with Algeria contingent on political progress in the country, Mr. Rumsfeld declined to answer directly.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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