- The Washington Times - Monday, June 5, 2006


Rumsfeld proposes closer military ties

HANOI — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday that the United States wants to expand its military relationship with Vietnam, but has no plans to seek access to military facilities in the country.

Arriving in Hanoi just days after the two countries signed a trade agreement, Mr. Rumsfeld planned to meet the U.S. military team involved in finding and identifying the remains of missing U.S. troops.

“What we want to see is a relationship between our country and Vietnam evolve in a way that is comfortable to them and comfortable to us,” Mr. Rumsfeld said.


Government workers get month’s wages

GAZA CITY — A Palestinian bank began paying one month’s salary to thousands of civil servants yesterday despite threats of Western sanctions against institutions that deal with the Hamas government.

The move by the Bank of Palestine to pay wages to 10,300 of the lowest-paid employees in the Palestinian Authority came after militant groups warned that local banks refusing to help their people would be branded a “tool” of Israel.

Thousands of government workers who have not been paid in three months flocked to withdraw money. Some kissed their money or the bank’s automated teller machines.


Pro-democracy group told to halt work

CAIRO — Egypt has told the U.S.-based International Republican Institute to stop its activities in Egypt, saying comments by its representative were interference in the country’s internal affairs.

The Foreign Ministry said yesterday that it had summoned country director Gina London and told her to suspend all activities until the organization, which monitors political systems abroad and promotes multiparty politics, receives a permit.

The ministry said Miss London’s comments to an Egyptian newspaper, in which she said political reform in Egypt had not been achieved in the past 25 years, were flagrant interference in Egypt’s affairs.


NATO will double its forces in south

KABUL — NATO will double the number of soldiers in southern Afghanistan when it takes over security there from U.S. troops next month, the NATO force commander said yesterday.

British Lt. Gen. David Richards also said NATO troops will be more “people-friendly” in an effort to win the support of the local population amid rising resentment over what many Afghans see as overly aggressive tactics by the separate U.S.-led coalition force.

More than two dozen people died in weekend violence in the south, including four in a failed attempt to blow up the governor of Kandahar province, the birthplace of the Taliban religious militia.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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