- The Washington Times - Friday, October 5, 2007

PAKISTAN

Bhutto nears deal with Musharraf

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto is expected to seal a “reconciliation agreement” with President Pervez Musharraf today that analysts think could lead to power sharing within months.

The reconciliation agreement will erase corruption charges against Mrs. Bhutto and other civilian leaders, paving the way for her return on Oct. 18 from more than eight years of self-exile to lead her party in a general election due by mid-January.

Although on the verge of gaining an ally, Gen. Musharraf was uncertain whether a presidential election will go ahead in parliament and provincial assemblies tomorrow, as the Supreme Court is hearing new challenges to him standing while army chief.

INDONESIA

6.3 quake hits Aceh province

JAKARTA — An undersea earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale struck Indonesia’s Aceh province yesterday, but there was no tsunami warning, the meteorological agency said.

There were no immediate reports of any damage or casualties after the quake, the epicenter of which lay at a depth of 6 miles about 200 miles southwest of the town of Sinabang.

Indonesia is situated along a belt of intense seismic activity known as the “Pacific Ring of Fire.”

AFGHANISTAN

Fischer urges bigger EU role

BERLIN — Former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer urged Europe yesterday to boost its backing for Afghanistan and chided his Greens party for its flagging support for the mission in the war-torn country.

“I believe more needs to be done in Afghanistan — everything that is possible. That is not intended as criticism of my party — it has to decide for itself — but it is my personal view,” said Mr. Fischer, who had threatened to resign in 2001 if his party did not support the German deployment as part of an international peacekeeping force.

The Greens, a party with pacifist roots, last month voted at a congress against the continued deployment of Tornado surveillance planes in Afghanistan ahead of a parliamentary vote on the grounds that the fight against Taliban militants was claiming too many civilian victims.

PHILIPPINES

President tells India to look east

BOMBAY — Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday called for increased trade with India at the start of a three-day visit.

“We urge Indian companies to look eastwards. Currently the balance of trade is lopsided in India’s favor,” Mrs. Arroyo said in a speech to the Confederation of Indian Industry in Bombay, India’s financial capital.

Making the first visit to India in a decade by a Philippine president, Mrs. Arroyo said her country was sourcing cheaper medicines from India.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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