- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 14, 2006

IRAQ

Oil production in north resumes

KIRKUK — The pumping of crude oil from Iraq’s northern oil fields to Turkey’s Ceyhan terminal on the Mediterranean has resumed after a four-month interruption, an oil company official said yesterday.

Persistent sabotage of the pipelines shut down oil exports from Iraq’s northern fields, centered near Kirkuk, the Northern Oil Co. official said.

“The amount pumped in the last three days has reached 600,000 barrels,” he said, adding that production of the fields normally varies from 150,000 to 250,000 barrels per day.

“We now have more than 2.5 million barrels in the reservoirs of Ceyhan ready to export,” he said.

He attributed the renewed ability to export oil to security provided by 5,000 soldiers deployed to protect the pipelines in the region.

TURKEY

Ministry accused of erasing old sign

ANKARA — An inscription in a medieval dungeon translated as “Where God does not exist” caused a politically charged spat in Turkey yesterday as the Islamist-rooted government faced accusations of ordering the words erased.

Newspapers quoted Yasar Yildiz, head of the archeology museum in Bodrum, as saying that the Culture Ministry ordered the 500-year-old inscription scraped after government inspectors decided it lacked “historical or archeological value.”

The Latin inscription — “Inde deus abest” — was carved at the entrance to a dungeon in the Castle of St. Peter in Bodrum.

It is thought to have been written by the Knights of St. Peter, a medieval order of Crusaders who built the castle in the 15th century and used the dungeon as a torture chamber.

EGYPT

Israeli official comes to discuss deaths

CAIRO — Israeli Justice Minister Haim Ramon arrived in Egypt on an unannounced visit yesterday during which he was expected to hold talks with senior officials, airport officials told Agence France-Presse.

He was to meet “political and security officials,” an official said without elaborating.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit and his Israeli counterpart, Tzipi Livni, met yesterday in Luxembourg, and Mr. Abul Gheit brought up the investigation into the killings June 2 of two Egyptian border policemen.

The official Egyptian Middle East News Agency said a preliminary investigation found that Israeli soldiers had dragged the bodies to their side of the border after shooting the policemen while they were still on Egyptian soil.

Weekly notes …

Four Kuwaiti Muslim activists have been arrested over accusations of destroying election posters of a female candidate in the June 29 parliamentary elections, the candidate said yesterday. “The authorities informed me the men belong to an Islamist group opposed to women’s political rights,” said Aisha al-Rasheed, the first Kuwaiti woman to register as a candidate in the elections since women were granted full political rights in May last year. … Israel denied responsibility yesterday for an explosion on a Gaza Strip beach on Friday that killed seven Palestinian civilians and led the militant group Hamas to call off a 16-month-old truce. Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, said the timing of the Israeli shelling of Gaza and the shrapnel taken from victims showed that his forces were not to blame for the blast.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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