- The Washington Times - Monday, March 13, 2006

ISRAEL

U.S. briefed on border plan

JERUSALEM — Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert briefed the United States last week on his plan to impose Israel’s final borders with the Palestinians if efforts to restart peace talks fail, a spokesman said yesterday.

Spokesman Asaf Shariv said an Olmert aide presented the plan in a telephone call to a U.S. official before the acting prime minister disclosed it in published interviews last week.

“They neither approved nor objected to it,” Mr. Shariv said. He would not say who participated in the phone call, but said Mr. Olmert would not discuss the plan with President Bush until after Israeli elections.

JAPAN

City votes down adding U.S. Marines

TOKYO — Voters in a Japanese city overwhelmingly rejected a plan yesterday to bring more planes and troops to a nearby U.S. Marine base, complicating talks on relocating U.S. forces throughout Japan.

More than 43,000 rejected the plan and just more than 5,000 were in favor, an official in the southwestern city of Iwakuni said. The result was not binding, but the “no” vote is a headache for both Tokyo and Washington.

The two countries hope this month to conclude a sweeping plan to reorganize the nearly 50,000 U.S. troops in Japan. They also are discussing how much Japan should pay to move 7,000 Marines from its southern island of Okinawa to Guam.

COLOMBIA

Uribe’s party gains in Congress election

BOGOTA — Parties loyal to President Alvaro Uribe appeared headed toward a resounding victory yesterday in congressional elections, which are seen as a test of the U.S. ally’s popularity ahead of his race for a second term.

With 34 percent of the votes counted, supporters of Mr. Uribe’s all-out war on leftist guerrillas looked poised to take 71 of the 102 seats up for grabs in Colombia’s Senate.

Mr. Uribe is up for re-election May 28, seeking to become Colombia’s first president to win a second term in more than a century.

ETHIOPIA

Eritrea accused in arms smuggling

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia said yesterday that explosives used in attacks that wounded four persons in Addis Ababa last week were smuggled from Eritrea and that Eritrean-backed “terrorists” were behind the blasts.

“Investigation on types and makes of explosives used in recent terrorist attempts confirmed that most of the explosions were carried out using a grenade known as C-4,” according to a police statement reported by the state-run Ethiopian News Agency.

IRAQ

U.S. staff barred from taking flights

BAGHDAD — The U.S. Embassy barred employees from using commercial flights yesterday after a “security incident” at Baghdad International Airport.

An unconfirmed report distributed on an intelligence network operated by private security contractors in the Iraqi capital said explosives had been found before they were loaded onto a commercial airline flight on Saturday. But Iraq’s Transport Ministry denied that any such incident took place.

The airport is Baghdad’s main link with the outside world.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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