|Al-Ahram Weekly On-line
3 - 9 September 1998
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
Reform pledgePRESIDENTS Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin pledged themselves to the continuation and support of a market economy at the end of their two-day summit, which both leaders described as successful.
Yeltsin, however, criticised Washington's recourse to force in international affairs, and reiterated his opposition to increasing NATO-centrism. Any potential discord, though, was overshadowed by Yeltsin's pledge to continue the reform process launched seven years ago despite the fact that it is costing Russians, in Yeltsin's words, "a lot of tears and sweat."
Clinton pledged to back additional support for Russia from America and other big economic powers on the condition that the reform process be completed.
Two security agreements were signed before the final press conference, committing the US and Russia to disposing of 50 tons of weapons-grade plutonium and to sharing information on missile launch warnings. Joint statements were also signed on biological weapons control and the situation in Kosovo. (see p.6)
Iran warningIRAN has announced that its forces will remain near the Afghan border even after the end of three days of military exercises -- the largest ever to be undertaken by the Revolutionary Guards and the first near the Afghan border since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
"The troops and equipment taking part in the Ashura-3 manoeuvres in the northeast of the country will not be withdrawn." said Revolutionary Guards commander Rahim Safavi.
The exercises, 50km from the border, began on Tuesday as Iranian-Afghani tensions escalated following the Taliban capture of Mazar Al-Sherif. Afghanistan has asked for UN mediation to ease tensions with Iran.
Aid blockedTHE UN Security Council's Iraqi sanctions committee turned down a request by the United Arab Emirates to provide a weekly medical flight to Iraq but said such flights would continue to be assessed on a case by case basis.
The UAE had sought permission for Emirates Airlines to organise a weekly flight, at its own expense, to take medical and other humanitarian relief supplies to Baghdad, and to return with sick and elderly Iraqi patients for medical treatment in Dubai. The Security Council's sanctions committee, in a meeting late Tuesday, said there was consensus among 15 members for authorising a regular weekly flight. The United States and Britain were thought to be blocking the deal.
In detentionISRAEL'S Supreme Court rejected an appeal, lodged by a Palestinian who has been held in administrative detention for a record five years, to re-examine the validity of the testimony submitted against him by Israel's domestic security service.
Osama Barham, 36, was arrested in 1993 in his West Bank village of Ramin. Israeli military authorities suspected him of being a key member of a militant Palestinian group. He has been held without trial since then. His Israeli lawyer said he has not been allowed to summon defence witnesses and that, so far, no court has established his guilt.
Barham, a former journalism student at the Islamic College in Hebron, earlier served seven years in Israeli prisons following a 1985 conviction for illegal weapons possession.