Archive for Sunday, February 15, 2004

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February 15, 2004

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Jerusalem

Palestinian leader fears U.S. backs Israeli plan

The Palestinian prime minister expressed concern Saturday that the United States may be moving away from its "road map" to peace for the Middle East.

In an apparent effort to satisfy one of Washington's key demands, Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia announced he was changing the way Palestinian security forces were paid.

A group of U.S. envoys is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon next week to discuss an alternative Israeli plan involving the unilateral withdrawal of troops from some Palestinian areas. Qureia said there were signs the United States might come out in support of the plan.

"What I heard is that they may accept Sharon's plan. And this 'may' is irritating and worrying," Qureia told reporters.

Palestinians fear the new plan would leave them with far less land than the stalled "road map" peace plan that the United States has championed for months.

Geneva

Red Cross: U.S. permits visit with Saddam

U.S. authorities have given the international Red Cross permission to see Saddam Hussein, but no date has been set, the organization said Saturday.

The International Committee of the Red Cross requested permission to visit Saddam soon after he was captured Dec. 13 and the United States declared him a prisoner of war.

"We have had a green light for a visit," Jakob Kellenberger, president of the ICRC, said in a newspaper interview. "However, we don't yet know when it will take place."

Kellenberger's comments were published Saturday in the daily Tribune de Geneve.

Philippines

U.S.: Rebels off list of terrorists if deal set

The United States said Saturday it would remove Philippine communist rebels from a list of terrorist organizations if they reached a peace deal, clearing the way for a new round of negotiations.

Peace talks resumed in Oslo, Norway, on Tuesday after a two-year break but hit a snag after the rebels demanded that Manila help get the Communist Party and its armed wing, the New People's Army, off terror lists prepared by the United States and other Western nations.

At the Philippine Military Academy, U.S. Embassy charges d'affaires Joseph Mussomeli told reporters the terror listing should not be a hindrance to peace negotiations.

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