- The Washington Times - Friday, April 6, 2007

FRANCE

Le Pen visits immigrant suburb

ARGENTEUIL — The leader of the French far-right paid a surprise visit yesterday to a rough suburb home to the veiled and robed immigrants he has blamed for the country’s problems, calling the bemused residents legitimate children of France.

The unannounced flash campaign stop by Jean-Marie Le Pen was cloaked in secrecy, probably to head off any possible protests or violence against a man reviled by many minorities, in a town where even front-runner Nicolas Sarkozy fears to tread.

Sixteen days before the April 22 first-round vote, Mr. Le Pen also was thumbing his nose at Mr. Sarkozy, the former interior minister who, in October 2005, enraged many youths during a visit to Argenteuil by calling troublemakers “scum.”

The remark helped fuel the riots that erupted days later and spread through French housing projects for three weeks.

SOMALIA

EU official sees war crimes by troops

NAIROBI, Kenya — A European Union envoy said yesterday that he has asked Brussels to investigate whether Ethiopian and Somali forces committed war crimes in their recent crackdown on Islamist and clan insurgents in Mogadishu.

An Ethiopian offensive against insurgents last week triggered four days of the worst fighting in Mogadishu in more than 15 years, killing hundreds and forcing tens of thousands to flee.

Eric van der Linden, the EU envoy to Nairobi, said he had forwarded an e-mail from one of his officials to EU headquarters in Brussels questioning whether “indiscriminate use of force in heavily populated areas amounted to war crimes.”

RWANDA

Former president gets pardon

NAIROBI, Kenya — Rwanda’s first post-genocide leader walked free from prison yesterday after a surprise presidential pardon of his convictions that included inciting ethnic tension.

Pasteur Bizimungu was freed after serving two years of a 15-year term as an act of clemency by President Paul Kagame to build national unity, an official said. His release came on the 13th anniversary of the start of the 1994 genocide in which 500,000 were killed.

PAKISTAN

Musharraf in talks with exiled Bhutto

ISLAMABAD — Embattled Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is in negotiations to win the support of exiled former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, government officials said yesterday.

Pakistan this week wound up a special team that had been investigating purported corruption by Mrs. Bhutto, the country’s first female prime minister, during her two terms in power between 1988 and 1996, officials said.

Officials said the team in the National Accountability Bureau was closed in a move to facilitate indirect contacts that had been going on between Gen. Musharraf and Mrs. Bhutto — who is now in exile in Dubai and London — for some time.

GREECE

Two missing after ship sinks

ATHENS — Navy divers searched the sunken wreckage of a cruise ship yesterday for the bodies of a Frenchman and his daughter who disappeared after the vessel foundered on a volcanic reef.

Nearly 1,600 people were retrieved from the sinking ship in a three-hour rescue operation. The 469-foot Sea Diamond struck rocks Thursday in the sea-filled crater formed by a massive volcanic eruption 3,500 years ago off the island of Santorini.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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