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  • US and UK troops could face al Qaeda through summer
  • Iran-backed Afghan leader says no to monarchy


  • NATO and Russia confident on pact, summit to follow
  • Turkish president begins cross-Baltic tour


  • Yugoslav ex-minister said negotiating surrender
  • Former Bosnian Serb mayor of Prijedor goes on trial for genocide
  • Former secret service officials investigated for ties to training camp in Bosnia
  • Milosevic says Kosovo massacre staged by rebels


  • Iraq proposes dates for meeting with UN chief on return of weapons inspectors
  • Pentagon chief casts doubt on utility of reviving arms inspections



  • American and British troops could be fighting al Qaeda militants in remote parts of Afghanistan for months yet, a senior UK government source said on Monday in London. "The fight against al Qaeda is not over yet. There is a need to finish them off," the source told reporters. "Clearly there is going to be fighting in spring and summer." (Reuters 151322 GMT Apr 02)


  • West Afghanistan’s top warlord Ismail Khan, a close ally of Iran, said on Monday that ex-King Zahir Shah was welcome home as a private citizen but there was no place in the new Afghanistan for a monarchy. In an interview with the Reuters news agency, Khan, governor of the Herat Province bordering Iran, rejected suggestions Tehran was a threat to Afghanistan and forecast Taliban-al Qaeda rebels would come out fighting again in the summer months. Khan’s backing by Iran and his reputation make him a pivotal figure in Afghanistan’s upcoming Loya Jirga or grand tribal council, which will either endorse interim leader Hamid Karzai or choose a new government in mid-June. (Reuters 151952 GMT Apr 02)




  • NATO and Russia are close to forging a new cooperation pact, and a summit to sign the deal is likely to take place at the end of May, the head of NATO and Russia’s foreign minister said on Monday in Brussels. NATO has played down the idea that such a deal has been finalised, insisting that fine-tuning remains. But NATO Secretary-General Robertson had high hopes. "We are working still towards agreement on the modalities of a new council between NATO and Russia which will work at the level of 20 (states)," he told reporters after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. The idea of the council is to create a forum in which Russia could influence NATO and sit as an equal partner with the alliance’s 19 nations. (Reuters 151625 GMT Apr 02)


  • Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer began a tour of the three former Soviet Baltic republics on Monday to offer his country’s support for their membership in NATO. Sezer arrived in Riga, the Latvian capital, for two days of discussions with government leaders about the small nation’s bid to join the Western alliance. The Baltics are seen as likely to land NATO invitations this year, and Sezer said he’ll support Latvian membership even if Romania and Bulgaria must wait. Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga said that, in turn, Latvia "will do what it can to support Turkey’s membership in the European Union." (AP 151530 Apr 02)




  • Former Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic has begun negotiations about surrendering to the UN war crimes tribunal, Serbian Justice Minister Vladan Batic said on Monday in Belgrade. Batic said lawyers for Sainovic, indicted along with ex-president Milosevic over atrocities in Kosovo, contacted Serbian authorities on Friday after the Yugoslav parliament passed a law on cooperation with the Hague tribunal. (Reuters 152035 GMT Apr 02)


  • A former Bosnian Serb mayor, Milomir Stakic, faces charges of genocide at the opening of his trial on Tuesday for his role in setting up three brutal wartime prison camps in Bosnia. The indictment linked Stakic to the Omarska, Keraterm and Trnopolje camps, the most notorious of 39 detention facilities set up in 1992 as part of what prosecutors call a Bosnian Serb plan to "ethnically cleanse" the area of non-Serbs. (AP 160119 Apr 02)


  • Bosnia’s Muslim-Croat federation is investigating three former secret service officials for ties to an Iranian-run training camp raided after the country’s 1992-1995 war, state television reported on Monday. The agents were linked to a camp at Pogorelica, 40 kilometers northwest of Sarajevo, the report said. NATO-led peacekeepers raided the camp for training local police units in February 1996 and arrested three Iranian instructors. NATO raided the camp because foreign fighters had been ordered out of the country under the 1995 Dayton peace accords. The prosecutor’s office said all three were suspected of forging documents for those training in the camp. (AP 152031 Apr 02)


  • Slobodan Milosevic at his trial on Monday accused separatist Kosovo Albanian guerrillas of fabricating an alleged atrocity by Serb forces in 1999 in a bid to spur a shocked West into attacking Yugoslavia. The killing of about 45 ethnic Albanians in Racak in January 1999 shocked the outside world and was widely credited with stiffening NATO’s resolve to launch its 11-week campaign of air strikes against Yugoslavia two months later. (Reuters 151551 GMT Apr 02)



  • Iraq has proposed dates for a follow-up meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the return of UN weapons inspectors, and the UN chief has given an "essentially positive reaction," a UN spokesman said on Monday. On Friday, Iraq asked to delay the scheduled April 18-19 meeting because it didn’t want to divert attention from the crisis in the Middle East. (AP 152056 Apr 02)


  • Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Monday he cannot imagine a formula for UN weapons inspections that would be both acceptable to Iraq and successful in uncovering nuclear weapons. He did not say what should be done in the absence of effective inspections. In a related development, two U.S. Air Force F-16s dropped laser-guided bombs Monday on an air defense radar complex in southern Iraq. Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the F-16s attacked after one of the Iraqi radars "illuminated" one of the planes. It was the first U.S. airstrike in southern Iraq since Jan. 21. (AP 151921 Apr 02)




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