Missile system delivered to Iran
MOSCOW — Russia has begun delivery of Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran, a Defense Ministry official said yesterday, confirming that Moscow would proceed with arms deals with Tehran in spite of Western criticism.
The official declined to specify when the deliveries had been made and how many systems had been delivered. Ministry officials have previously said Moscow would supply 29 of the sophisticated missile systems to Iran under a $700 million contract signed in December.
The United States called on all countries last spring to stop all arms exports to Iran, as well as ending all nuclear cooperation with it to put pressure on Tehran to halt uranium enrichment activities.
Rwanda breaks diplomatic ties
PARIS — Rwanda severed diplomatic ties with France yesterday in response to a French judge’s decision to issue international arrest warrants for nine ranking Rwandans suspected of plotting the 1994 killing of the African nation’s president.
France’s ambassador in Rwanda, Dominique Decherf, will leave the country today and the 29 other embassy personnel in the capital, Kigali, were leaving by Monday evening, embassy security chief Serge Kulmicht said.
On Wednesday, a French investigating judge issued arrest warrants for nine ranking Rwandans suspected of plotting the downing of President Juvenal Habyarimana’s airplane on April 6, 1994 — an act that sparked the country’s genocide.
Marijuana plants found in high-rise
TORONTO — A police search for marijuana-growing operations mushroomed as officers discovered 22 apartments in a Toronto high-rise were being used to cultivate the illegal drug, four times more than expected.
Police found more than 6,000 marijuana plants with an estimated street value of $5.31 million scattered throughout the 22 apartments in the north Toronto building.
Press reports said police were alerted to the marijuana operations in April, when a fire broke out in one of the apartments.
Free trade pact signed with China
ISLAMABAD — China signed a five-year free trade pact with Pakistan yesterday, promised to continue joint development of nuclear energy, and pledged to play a “constructive” role in resolving disputes between Pakistan and neighboring rival India.
The announcements came a day after Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in the Pakistani capital following a trip to India.
Pakistan and China signed 18 economic, social and defense deals, topped by the free trade agreement and a five-year pact to boost “trade relations, joint ventures and investment opportunities in Pakistan,” President Pervez Musharraf said.
Palestinian truce bid rejected by Israel
JEBALIYA — Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said yesterday that militants were prepared to stop firing rockets at Israel if it would halt all military action in Palestinian territories. Israel rejected the offer, saying it would respond positively only to a total truce.
Similar proposals in the past have failed to curb fighting, and a spokesman for the ruling Hamas group quickly stepped back from the cease-fire talk, which came as fighting between militants and Israeli troops in Gaza claimed the lives of a 10-year-old Palestinian boy and a militant filming the clashes.
A third Palestinian died yesterday of wounds sustained in earlier violence. It wasn’t immediately known whether he was a militant or civilian.
From wire dispatches and staff reports