- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 4, 2006


West sets July 12 as deadline

VIENNA, Austria — Western powers have set July 12 as a deadline for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and agree to talks on its nuclear program or risk U.N. Security Council sanctions, diplomats said yesterday.

The diplomats also said that Russia and China were closer to supporting the West in seeking to pressure Iran with the threat of U.N. Security Council action, including sanctions, if Tehran refused a six-power package of incentives meant to wean it off enrichment.

The envoys — some of them senior diplomats with the United Nations and all familiar with details of the six nations’ drive to persuade Iran to compromise on its nuclear activities — spoke just two days before a key meeting between Iran and the European Union meant to make clear to the Iranians that their time is running out.


U.S. warned of ‘annihilating’ hit

SEOUL — North Korea vowed yesterday to respond with an “annihilating” nuclear strike if its atomic facilities are attacked pre-emptively by the United States.

The Bush administration responded sternly, saying that although it had no intention of attacking, it was determined to protect the United States if North Korea launched a long-range missile.

“Should North Korea take the provocative action of launching a missile, the U.S. would respond appropriately, including by taking the necessary measures to protect ourselves,” State Department spokeswoman Julie Reside said.


Talks with rebels to begin next week

KAMPALA — The government will begin talks with rebels next week in the latest attempt to end a brutal, 19-year-old civil war in northern Uganda, an official said yesterday after its representatives met southern Sudanese leaders who are expected to mediate the talks.

“There will be no preconditions. Our main priority is peace in northern Uganda and southern Sudan,” said Robert Kabushenga, a spokesman for the government delegation that was briefed on initial talks between the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army and the autonomous government of southern Sudan concerning talks intended to end the conflict.


Inaugural train crosses highest pass

LHASA — Exhausted passengers stumbled out of China’s inaugural train from Beijing to Lhasa yesterday, after enduring a historic two-day trip during which many took oxygen to ward off altitude sickness.

As the train climbed toward its highest point at the Tangula Pass, many passengers had attached tubes to their nostrils and announcements warned passengers to avoid sudden movements that could trigger sickness, even in the pressurized cabins.

At 16,640 feet above sea level, the pass is the peak of the world’s highest railway, running across the barren Tibetan plateau.


Rebels declare end of truce

KHARTOUM — A new alliance of Darfur rebel commanders and political parties have attacked a town on the road to the capital Khartoum, declaring a 27-month-old truce dead, rebels and officials said yesterday.

One of three rebel factions signed a peace deal negotiated by the African Union in May, but new alliances have since been formed among those who reject the deal.

“The forces of the Justice and Equality Movement attacked a town in North Kordofan called Hamrat al-Sheik,” said a spokesman for the Sudanese armed forces. “Sudanese planes have been deployed, and the aggression is continuing,” he added.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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