- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 22, 2006

JORDAN

Olmert meets Abbas; apologizes for deaths

PETRA — Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas kissed and embraced yesterday in the first meeting between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in more than a year, and Mr. Olmert made a rare apology for Palestinian civilian deaths in recent Israeli air strikes.

Thirteen Palestinian civilians have been killed in Israeli air strikes in the past week, including two slain by an errant missile Wednesday in Gaza.

“It is against our policy and I am very, very sorry,” Mr. Olmert said after a breakfast meeting with the Palestinian leader in the ancient town of Petra hosted by Jordan’s King Abdullah II. He did not mention a June 9 beach explosion that killed eight Palestinian civilians. Palestinians blame Israel, but Israel has denied responsibility.

SOMALIA

Warring factions sign peace deal

KHARTOUM — Somalia’s foreign minister and a representative of the faction that controls the country’s capital signed an agreement yesterday that calls for an immediate cease-fire and confers mutual recognition on the warring parties.

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa attended the signing ceremony presided over by Sudanese President Omar Bashir. Mr. Moussa said the Islamic Courts Union — the militia that controls the capital of Mogadishu and most of southern Somalia — agreed to recognize the legitimacy of the interim government.

IRAQ

Police free 17 abducted workers

BAGHDAD — Iraqi police stormed a farm yesterday and freed 17 of 64 workers kidnapped from a factory on Wednesday.

Two workers were killed while trying to escape. Thirty persons, mainly women and children, were freed shortly after the kidnapping, leaving 15 still thought to be in captivity.

The U.S. military said four Marines were killed Tuesday in Anbar province, three of them in a roadside bombing and a fourth in a separate operation. A soldier died Wednesday south of the capital, the military said.

EAST TIMOR

President threatens to resign

DILI — East Timorese President Xanana Gusmao said yesterday he would step down if Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri refused to take responsibility for a weeks-long crisis in which the country has been racked by violence.

He spoke in a broadcast to the nation after a second day of tense meetings failed to bring the resignation of Mr. Alkatiri, blamed by thousands of protesters for the violence in which at least 20 were killed, widespread looting and arson.

AFGHANISTAN

Al Qaeda leader urges revolt against U.S.

KABUL — Al Qaeda’s No. 2 leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, in a videotape that surfaced yesterday urged Afghans to rise up against U.S.-led forces in their country.

His appeal was released as President Hamid Karzai called for a reassessment of the U.S.-led coalition’s strategy for fighting terrorism.

Meanwhile, four U.S. soldiers were killed Wednesday in combat in eastern Afghanistan, the military said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide