Gaza pullout includes wide security perimeters

Thursday, April 7, 2005

JERUSALEM -- A detailed evacuation plan for the Gaza Strip presented to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Wednesday includes wide security perimeters and covers details like removing settlers' pets and Jewish cemeteries, according to a senior Israeli official. The four-week plan for this summer, prepared by Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, the police and the prisons service, is the most complete to date, the official said on condition of anonymity, a demand he consistently makes of reporters. It anticipates a "worst-case scenario" of resistance from settlers and violence by Palestinians.

Saudi Arabia gaining upper hand on militants

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Security forces have killed 15 Islamic militants in four days, including three on the most wanted list, in the most intensive fighting yet seen in Saudi Arabia's two-year war on terror -- a sign the kingdom may have al-Qaida on the defensive. The latest slain militant was Abdul-Rahman Mohammed Mohammed Yazji, killed Wednesday by police in a raid in a rundown industrial area of the capital, Riyadh. Yazji is suspected of involvement in a November 2003 bombing of a housing complex for foreign workers that killed 17 Arabs.

Annan's plans for U.N. criticized by majority

UNITED NATIONS -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan's blueprint for the most sweeping changes to the United Nations in its history came under sharp criticism Wednesday from developing countries, who represent most of the 191 U.N. member states. China and Russia -- both veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council -- also raised concerns and opposed Annan's "artificial" deadlines of having world leaders adopt a reform package at a summit in September and agree before that on the divisive issue of Security Council expansion.

Kyrgyz parliament weighs president's resignation

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyzstan's parliament on Wednesday delayed consideration of President Askar Akayev's resignation one more day, scheduling a special session that lawmakers hope will bring a public end to the political turmoil that has engulfed this ex-Soviet republic. Parliamentary speaker Omurbek Tekebayev agreed with lawmakers who called for the parliamentary session today to be broadcast live to this nation of 5 million. "The whole country will be witness to the discussions," Tekebayev said.

Ivory Coast's warring factions agree on peace

CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- Ivory Coast's warring factions agreed Wednesday to end hostilities, start immediate disarmament and make plans for new elections in a bid to prevent a renewed explosion of violence in the world's leading cocoa producer. The agreement followed four days of talks in Pretoria mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki, who summoned all sides to his country's capital to try to rescue the peace process. The negotiations were the factions' first face-to-face meeting since civil war flared up again last fall in the West African nation.

Zimbabwe poll rife with fraud, opposition says

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Zimbabwe's main opposition party said Wednesday an investigation into last week's parliamentary election indicates massive electoral fraud in at least 30 seats won by the ruling ZANU-PF party. The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change said that in 11 races the winning ZANU-PF candidate got more votes in the official returns than the government's own electoral commission said were cast. President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party was declared the winner of 78 of Parliament's 120 elected seats. Under Zimbabwe law, Mugabe appoints 30 more members of Parliament.

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