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Archive for Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Around the world

January 11, 2005

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Havana

Cuba re-establishes ties with Europe

Cuba said Monday it was resuming formal ties with all of Europe, ending a deep freeze in relations following a 2003 crackdown on dissidents and the firing-squad executions of three men who tried to hijack a ferry.

Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque told journalists that official contacts had resumed with the Havana-based ambassadors of the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and the Netherlands, as well as with the European Union mission.

Last week, Cuba re-established relations with eight other nations.

"Cuba has re-established official contacts now with all of the EU countries," Perez Roque said. Although diplomatic ties with the European countries were never severed, high-level contacts between Cuba and many EU members were limited for more than 1 1/2 years.

Ukraine

Yushchenko formally declared winner

Ukraine's Election Commission late Monday declared Western-leaning reformer Viktor Yushchenko the winner of the presidential election over Kremlin-favored Viktor Yanukovych, whose camp immediately vowed to appeal the results to the Supreme Court.

The commission announced that the final official tally of the Dec. 26 vote, which was a rerun of the Nov. 21 election that was annulled because of fraud, showed Yushchenko with 51.99 percent of the votes and Yanukovych with 44.2 percent.

Yanukovych, who stepped down as prime minister last week, had been declared the winner of the Nov. 21 election, and he has vowed to use all possible legal avenues to overturn the revote.

Germany

British soldier court-martialed for Iraqi abuse

A British soldier accused of abusing Iraqis in his custody was brought before a court-martial Monday at a military base in Germany, the first such case against a British serviceman to come to trial.

Fusilier Gary Bartlam, 20, is one of four soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers charged after photos surfaced showing their alleged mistreatment of Iraqis.

Britain's attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, was quoted by the Guardian newspaper as saying that some of the abuse "apparently involves making the victims engage in sexual activity between themselves."

Also, a British tabloid, The Sun, published pictures showing an Iraqi detainee bundled up in netting and suspended from a fork-lift truck.

Sudan

President starts tour to show peace treaty

With a peace treaty in hand, Sudan's president began a tour of his country Monday, greeted by 10,000 revelers in Juba.

"Our ultimate goal is a united Sudan, which will not be built by war but by peace and development," President Omar el-Bashir said.

Government forces and rebel fighters from the Sudan People's Liberation Army began fighting in 1983, leaving more than 2 million people dead, mainly through war-induced famine and disease. Another 4 million were displaced from their homes.

The southern accord also has raised hopes a power-sharing formula can be reached to halt fighting in Darfur, a vast western region where tens of thousands of people have died in an almost 2-year-old conflict, pitting rebels against government forces and allied Arab militias.

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