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U.N. says yes to Liberian force

By Wire services
Published September 20, 2003

UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Friday to establish a peacekeeping mission of up to 15,000 troops for Liberia, where a smaller West African peace force has helped stabilize the capital, but fighting persists in the countryside.

The U.S.-backed resolution, introduced Monday, authorizes the deployment of up to 1,115 civilian police officers, 250 military observers and 160 staff officers, in addition to the troops, for a 12-month period. They are to take over from the 3,250-strong Nigerian-led West African force on Oct. 1.

The resolution authorizes the new peacekeeping force to monitor the cease-fire and investigate violations, monitor the disengagement of all forces, and work with others to develop a plan within 30 days to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate combatants.

Thousands greet Clinton in visit to Kosovo

PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro - Thousands of cheering ethnic Albanians greeted Bill Clinton in Kosovo on Friday as he made his second visit to the province since assembling a coalition that halted a brutal crackdown by Serb forces.

Guarded by an armored personnel carrier and NATO peacekeepers, the former president's motorcade traveled from the airport to the capital of the ethnically divided province where he received an honorary degree from the city's university.

Clinton is adored by Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority for leading the coalition that halted the brutal crackdown on ethnic Albanians seeking independence four years ago.

Cleric: Iran should restrict nuclear facilities access

TEHRAN, Iran - A leading hardline Iranian cleric contradicted government policy on atomic weapons Friday, saying Tehran should withdraw from an international nuclear arms control treaty and restrict access to its nuclear facilities.

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati also said the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency's demands for unfettered access to Iran's atomic facilities are an "extra humiliation" and a ruse to gather information about Tehran's government.

Jannati's statements conflict with those by President Mohammad Khatami's government, which said this week that Iran would cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and start negotiating an additional protocol of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty providing for unrestricted inspections.

"Serpent' detained in Nepal for questioning

KATMANDU, Nepal - The confessed killer known as "the Serpent," accused of murdering dozens of tourists across Asia, was detained Friday for questioning in the deaths of two young women in 1975 in Nepal.

Charles Sobhraj, 59, was picked up at a casino in Katmandu about 4 a.m., police officer Keshav Badal said.

Sobhraj, who earned his nickname for his talent at disguise and escape, is suspected of killing at least 20 people in India, Thailand, Afghanistan, Turkey, Nepal, Iran and Hong Kong between 1972 and 1982.

Sobhraj has admitted killing young Western tourists.

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