- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 18, 2006

TURKEY

U.S., Iraq warned on Kurdish threat

ANKARA — Turkish officials signaled yesterday that they are prepared to send the army into northern Iraq if U.S. and Iraqi forces do not take steps to combat Turkish Kurdish guerrillas there — a move that could put Turkey on a collision course with the Bush administration.

Turkey is facing increasing domestic pressure to act after 15 soldiers, police and guards were killed fighting guerrillas in southeastern Turkey in the past week.

U.S. officials in Turkey and Washington were in contact with Turkish officials and military commanders to press them not to act unilaterally, a Western diplomat said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

GEORGIA

Lawmakers demand Russian ouster

TBILISI — Georgia’s parliament yesterday called for the expulsion of Russian peacekeeping troops from separatist Abkhazia and South Ossetia and their replacement by an international force, prompting blunt reactions from Moscow and the separatist regions.

The resolution, passed overwhelmingly, called on the government to start the process of expelling Russian forces from the two strategic regions that lie on Georgia’s mountainous border with its larger neighbor.

Georgia’s pro-Western government accuses Moscow of propping up the separatist regimes that broke free during armed conflicts after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

PAKISTAN

Musharraf presses for India talks

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said yesterday that any interruption of the peace process with India after the Bombay train attacks last week would only play into the hands of terrorists, state press and broadcast outlets reported.

New Delhi postponed this week’s high-level talks with Pakistan after a series of train bombings July 11 killed about 180 people and injured hundreds in India’s commercial hub.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the attackers had help from elements across the border, in a reference to its South Asian rival. Pakistani officials have denied any involvement.

NORTH KOREA

Rains, mudslides ravage coastal villages

GENEVA — At least 100 persons are dead or missing and 9,000 are homeless after typhoon rains caused severe flooding and landslides in North Korea, wiping out whole villages, the International Red Cross said yesterday.

The typhoon, which first struck Saturday, has destroyed or damaged more than 11,500 houses, the Red Cross said.

It also has decimated vast swaths of farmland — a major blow, because the secretive communist nation’s people have long had to rely on international food handouts after previous failed harvests.

CONGO

Violence revives fears for election

KINSHASA — Gunmen killed up to seven persons at an election rally in eastern Congo. The attack revived fears that violence could disrupt the country’s elections later this month, officials said yesterday.

The unidentified gunmen opened fire on the rally Monday afternoon near Rutshuru in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu province, where marauding bands of rebels and militias still terrorize the civilian population.

The former Belgian colony holds its first free multiparty elections in four decades on July 30, but violence still grips many parts of the vast Central African country despite the presence of the world’s biggest U.N. peacekeeping force.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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