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World in brief

U.S. vetoes U.N. resolution on Israeli wall

By wire services
Published October 15, 2003

UNITED NATIONS - The United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution late Tuesday that would have condemned Israel for building a barrier that cuts into the West Bank.

The American veto came after the United States suggested an alternate draft that would have called on all parties in the Middle East struggle to dismantle terrorist groups.

The United States was the only country to vote against, using its veto as one of five permanent members of the council. Four of the 15 members of the Security Council abstained: Bulgaria, Cameroon, Germany and Britain.

PALESTINIANS TO BE EXPELLED: The Israeli military on Tuesday ordered 15 Palestinian detainees expelled from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip, an action human rights groups denounced as a violation of international law.

The military said expulsion orders for 15 Palestinians in Israeli custody were the only way to be sure the detainees would not return to terror activity. The military said most are members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

ARAB LEADERS FEUD: Yasser Arafat and his prime minister, Ahmed Qureia, sparred in public. They have haggled over the formation of a new Cabinet and especially over who should take up the powerful post of interior minister.

On Monday, Arafat appointed a top member of his Fatah party, Hakam Balawi, to be acting interior minister. On Tuesday, Qureia told reporters that Balawi does not have the job.

Hundreds of Saudis protest for reforms

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Hundreds of Saudis staged an illegal protest in the capital Tuesday, an unprecedented call for reform in this conservative Islamic kingdom.

Police fired tear gas to break up the demonstration, which follows months of public debate, also a rarity, over growing terrorism. Critics charge that a lack of democratic freedoms has made the kingdom a breeding ground for extremists.

On Monday, the government announced it would hold the kingdom's first elections, a vote to select 14 municipal councils.

Hostility flares at Serb-Kosovar talks

VIENNA - In the first face-to-face talks between Serbs and Kosovo Albanians since their 1999 war, rival leaders clashed Tuesday over the future of the ethnically tense province of Serbia and Montenegro.

The symbolic U.N.-sponsored talks were supposed to avoid the contentious issue of Kosovo's future status: whether it will gain independence, as demanded by the ethnic Albanians, or remain a part of Serbia, as called for by the Belgrade leadership.

But Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders insisted Tuesday on outright independence, while Serbs rejected such plans. The ethnic rivals refused even a ceremonial handshake before the session.

Elsewhere . . .

LIBERIAN LEADER TAKES OFFICE: Urging forgiveness and rebuking lawlessness, Charles Gyude Bryant, a private businessman, took power Tuesday in Monrovia, Liberia, charged with leading a government of national reconciliation.


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