- The Washington Times - Monday, August 10, 2009


Taliban waiting for reply on soldier

DERA ISMAIL KHAN | A militant commander who is holding a U.S. soldier abducted in Afghanistan said Sunday that Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s council is waiting for a response to its demands before deciding the American’s fate.

It was the first news of Pfc. Bowe R. Bergdahl, 23, made public since a Taliban video was released July 18.

Maulvi Sangin, an insurgent commander for eastern Afghanistan, told the Associated Press that the Taliban’s governing body was awaiting a response to demands it made to the United States for his return.

Sangin would not elaborate on the demands or say whether any deadline had been given. A spokesman for Sangin had previously said that the soldier would be killed unless the United States stops air strikes in two areas of eastern Afghanistan.


Clinton urges reform of oil-rich nation

LUANDA | Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton brought her democracy and development tour of Africa to oil-rich Angola on Sunday, encouraging the war-ravaged country to continue reforms and pledging to boost trade ties with a major energy producer.

Mrs. Clinton, on the third leg of a seven-nation trip, came to the Angolan capital to reinforce the United States’ presence in a country where it increasingly is competing for resources with China. Beijing has loaned Angola billions of dollars in recent years without pressing for reforms.

After meeting Foreign Minister Assuncao Afonso dos Anjos, Mrs. Clinton urged the government to build on successful legislative elections held in 2008 — the first in 16 years — through presidential elections and dealing with the legacy of its 27-year civil war.

Mrs. Clinton planned to meet Monday with President Eduardo dos Santos, who has ruled for 30 years and has been criticized for postponing a presidential vote that was scheduled for this year.


OAS negotiators barred from visit

TEGUCIGALPA | The interim government announced Sunday that it was canceling a visit by foreign delegates aimed at resolving Honduras’ political crisis because it could not accept the participation of a regional official who insists on reinstating the ousted president.

Interim President Roberto Micheletti is willing to reschedule the delegation’s visit, previously planned for Tuesday — as long as Organization of American States chief Jose Miguel Insulza is excluded, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The Washington-based OAS on Friday named the delegation comprising foreign ministers from Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

The group’s mission was to try to persuade Mr. Micheletti to negotiate with international mediators seeking to return President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a June 28 coup.


Fatah’s only Israeli seeks key position

BETHLEHEM | The only known Israeli Jewish member of the Palestinian group Fatah announced Sunday that he was seeking a position in the movement’s key decision-making body.

Uri Davis, 66, a fierce critic of Israel who identifies himself as a Palestinian Hebrew-speaking citizen of “the apartheid state of Israel,” said he presented his candidacy for Fatah’s Revolutionary Council at the group’s conference, which is under way in the West Bank. It is Fatah’s first gathering in 20 years.

Mr. Davis is one of about 700 Fatah members vying for 89 open seats in the body that oversees the group’s day-to-day decision making. Voting will begin Monday evening, and results are expected by Tuesday.

Mr. Davis said he hopes “my brothers and sisters in the congress would trust me with that candidacy.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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