Archive for Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Briefly

July 28, 2004

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Afghanistan

Doctors Without Borders to leave nation in protest

Medical relief agency Medecins Sans Frontieres announced today that it would withdraw from Afghanistan because of the killing of five of its staff.

The Nobel Prize-winning group, known as Doctors Without Borders in English, said it was pulling out also because it was unhappy with a government investigation into the June 2 deaths and with the "co-optation of humanitarian aid" by U.S.-led forces here "for military and political motives."

The group said in a statement that it regretted having to leave Afghanistan, where it has been operating for 24 years, but added: "today's context is rendering independent humanitarian aid for the Afghan people all but impossible."

United Nations

U.S. revises Sudan resolution

The United States sent a revised U.N. draft resolution on Sudan to Security Council ambassadors Tuesday, keeping the threat of sanctions and calling on the Sudanese government to disarm Arab militias blamed for killing thousands in the western region of Darfur.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said his country would retaliate against any foreign troops, reflecting concerns among some Arabs that the United States plans to follow its invasion of Iraq with an attempt to remake the region.

The new text would increase pressure on the Sudanese government to stop the violence.

The new draft was discussed Tuesday by ambassadors of the 15-nation Security Council, and more consultations were scheduled today. Stuart Holliday, the U.S. deputy ambassador to the United Nations, said he hoped for a vote Thursday or Friday.

West Bank

PM withdraws resignation

The Palestinians resolved a 10-day political crisis when the prime minister withdrew his resignation Tuesday, but there was no certainty that Yasser Arafat would give up his stranglehold over the security forces or that Palestinians would see any benefit in their daily lives.

Arafat and Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia embraced after emerging from a Cabinet meeting in which the Palestinian leader promised to let Cabinet ministers do their jobs. They agreed to enforce power structures already in place that Arafat until now has blocked.

The reconciliation was meant to calm days of protests denouncing corruption, kidnappings and the seizure or sacking of police stations and Palestinian Authority buildings.

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