- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Taiwanese leader drops in on Libya

Chen Shui-bian, president of the Republic of China (Taiwan), made an unannounced visit to Libya yesterday, his first to the North African country with which Taipei does not have diplomatic relations, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported.

Libya switched diplomatic recognition in 1978 from Taipei to Beijing. The visit is likely to irritate China, which claims Taiwan as its territory and discourages other countries from having diplomatic ties with the self-ruled island.

Mr. Chen, en route home from a visit to Latin America, made the brief stop in Libya at the invitation of Libyan authorities, the report said. He was greeted by the country’s strongman, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, who is Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s second son. Mr. Chen stayed in Libya about four hours and discussed exchanges of representative offices and cooperation in fishery, tourist, technological and petro-chemical activities, the report said.


U.S.-backed warlords barrage the capital

MOGADISHU — Fighting rocked the lawless Somali capital yesterday as a tentative truce failed and Islamic militia and gunmen loyal to a U.S.-backed warlord alliance battled a fourth day.

Machine-gun, artillery and rocket fire echoed through the streets after a cease-fire called by Islamic courts collapsed, bringing the death toll from the violence to about 200, witnesses said. Tension in Mogadishu has risen since Islamic courts declared a holy war against the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism, created in February with U.S. support.

The alliance seeks to curb the growing influence of courts that have enforced Islamic law. Washington has declined to confirm its support for the alliance, but U.S. officials have told Agence France-Presse that the group is one of several with which it is working to contain radical Islam in Somalia.

Analysts with the United Nations said yesterday that they were investigating an unnamed country’s secret support for an alliance of Somali warlords in apparent violation of a U.N. arms embargo.


French official honors Goree Island victims

DAKAR — France’s minister for cooperation paid homage yesterday to Africa’s slavery victims while visiting a notorious slave-trade island off the coast of Senegal, acknowledging that France “did indeed profit” from the global trade in human beings.

“Coming to Goree Island is paying homage to the long succession of anonymous victims who, over the centuries, suffered slavery and struggled for its abolition,” said Brigitte Girardin, accompanied by Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade.

Millions of Africans sold into bondage during the 16th to 19th centuries passed through Goree Island and similar slavery trading posts on their way to plantations of the New World. “Yes, France did indeed profit, following other European countries, from the commerce in human beings … who were ripped from the African homeland,” she said.

Weekly notes …

A senior U.N. envoy denounced yesterday former South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma for setting back the fight against HIV/AIDS on the African continent with “unacceptable” behavior. Stephen Lewis, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s special envoy for AIDS in Africa, said Mr. Zuma did irreparable damage to efforts to curb the spread of the deadly disease with actions that came to light in his rape trial. A South African court acquitted him of rape charges on Monday, agreeing with the defense that sex between the ex-deputy president and the HIV-positive complainant was consensual. … Two fugitive white supremacists accused of plotting to kill Nelson Mandela were put on Interpol’s “most wanted” list yesterday for extradition to South Africa, said police spokeswoman Sally de Beer. Herman van Rooyen, 33, and Rudi Gouws, 28, who with 20 other men face charges including attempting to assassinate the former president and overthrow the post-apartheid government, escaped from the Pretoria high court last week.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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