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         U.S. diplomat to seek cooperation from Tunisia in war against terrorism


         Annan says UN not U.S. puppet over Iraq dossier

         U.S. asks for Hungary camp to train Iraq opposition

         Kurdish leader says Iraqi opposition united on multiparty system to run post-Saddam Iraq


         Press and political freedoms key to Ukraine's bid for membership

         Algeria's president calls for closer cooperation with NATO


         Kostunica's party lodges complaint with Serbian Supreme court

         Croatia and Yugoslavia sign landmark border deal


         U.S. says would use "all options" against WMD attack

         China positive after U.S. defense talks




         A top U.S. State Department official arrived in Tunisia on Tuesday for high-level talks aimed at bolstering Arab North Africa's cooperation in the United States' war against terrorism. Assistant Secretary of State William Burns was to meet Wednesday with Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali during the last leg of a North Africa trip that included stops in Algeria and Morocco. (AP 102039 Dec 02)




         UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Tuesday that Security Council members had criticised the United States for breaking ranks and grabbing Iraq's report on its weapons programmes, intended only for weapons inspectors. But he rejected charges that by allowing the manoeuvre the United Nations had proved it was Washington's puppet. "The consensus of the group was that in substance perhaps the decision was fine, but the approach, and the style and the form was wrong because the Council had decided last Friday that nobody would get it," he told an invited audience in New York. "It was unfortunate and I hope it is not going to be repeated," Annan said of the way the U.S. had circumvented the UN's decision. "But I should also say that for those who maintain that the UN is being pushed around by the United States, I will remind them to look back to the eight-week period when we were discussing this issue and Washington was quite frustrated that things were not moving fast enough." (Reuters 110126 GMT Dec 02)


         The United States asked Hungary on Tuesday for use of the Taszar military base to train Iraqi opposition members for non-combatant duties in the event of military action against Iraq, Hungarian media reported. A defence ministry spokesman said a letter was handed over to the ministry on Tuesday but declined to reveal its contents. Daily newspaper Nepszabadsag earlier reported that Bulgaria, recently invited to join NATO, had offered to host the Iraqi training if Hungary refused. (Reuters 101733 GMT Dec 02)


         Most Iraqi opposition groups agree on a multiparty federal system to govern Iraq if President Saddam Hussein is toppled, a top Kurdish leader said Tuesday in Tehran. Massoud Barzani, leader of the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party, made the observation after meeting here with Iranian officials and other Iraqi opposition figures. His visit to Iran also comes ahead of conference in London of anti-Saddam groups beginning on Wednesday. (AP 102102 Dec 02)




         A U.S. advocate for NATO enlargement said Ukraine's government must move quickly to restore press and political freedoms in its bid for eventual membership in the alliance. Bruce Jackson, head of the U.S. Committee on NATO, a pro-enlargement political group based in Washington, D.C., said Ukraine must improve its "reactionary" treatment of the mass media and "roughly authoritarian" restrictions on opposition political groups if it hopes to join NATO and the European Union before "the windows on history close." He said media freedom will be essential in convincing NATO that Ukraine deserves membership. (AP 101855 Dec 02)


         Algeria's president Abdelaziz Bouteflika said Tuesday his country wants NATO to help it fight terrorism and modernize its armed forces. "We would like to develop our cooperation," President Bouteflika told reporters during a visit to NATO headquarters. NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson stressed the alliance's willingness to pursue closer ties with all members of its "Mediterranean dialogue" since the Sept. 11 attacks. (AP 101816 Dec 02)




         The party of Yugoslav President Kostunica has asked Serbia's Supreme Court to rule over his failed bid to become Serbia's president, a party official said Tuesday. In claiming irregularities at Sunday's vote, Kostunica's Democratic Party of Serbia said that the bar was placed too high for turnout because more voters were listed than actually existed, said party official Nebojsa Bakarec. In an interview with Belgrade's independent FoNet news agency, Djindjic said Kostunica had only himself to blame for the election defeat, recalling how Kostunica had dismissed an offer by Djindjic to back his campaign. (AP 101940 Dec 02)


         Croatia and Yugoslavia signed a landmark border deal on Tuesday on the disputed Adriatic Prevlaka peninsula. Under the deal, both countries will keep the area demilitarized and have joint sea police patrols, although the peninsula will be part of Croatian territory. (Reuters 102018 GMT Dec 02)



         The United States reminded Iraq and other countries on Tuesday that it was prepared to use nuclear weapons if necessary to respond to an attack from weapons of mass destruction. The warning, which underscored a longstanding U.S. policy leaving open the use of nuclear weapons if needed, was contained in a Bush administration statement of U.S. strategy against nuclear, chemical and biological weapons - the first update since 1993. The six-page strategy document says deterring attacks with the threat of "overwhelming force" is an essential element to protecting America and its allies from weapons of mass destruction, also known as WMD. (Reuters 102318 GMT Dec 02)


         China on Wednesday expressed satisfaction with the first high-level defense talks with the United States since President Bush took office and hoped to continue the dialogue. "Not only the Chinese side, but both sides give a positive appraisal" to the talks on Monday between U.S. Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith and Chinese Gen. Xiong Guangkai, deputy chief of the People's Liberation Army, Xie Feng, spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington said . In addition, both sides are determined to "maintain this very important channel of exchange," he added. (Reuters 110033 GMT Dec 02)





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