Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 27, 2002 · Page 13
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 13

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Sunday, October 27, 2002
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®azeite WORLD Bush says he'll lead coalition against Iraq By RON FOURN1ER AP White House Correspondent CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico —The White House said Saturday it would be "not very hard at all" to assemble an alliance to confront Saddam Hussein without the United Nations, a clear signal that President Bush's patience with the international organization is reaching its Limits. As France, Russia, Mexico and other allies seek to water down his zero-tolerance approach to Iraq, Bush renewed his call for the U.N. to confront Saddam or stand aside while the United States acts. "If the U.N. does not pass a resolution which holds him to account and that has consequences, then, as I have said in speech after speech after speech, if the U.N. won't act — if Saddam Hussein won't disarm — we will lead a coalition to disarm him," the president said at (he 21-na- tipn Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Later, Secretary of State Colin Powell said the prospects for a tough resolution may be slipping away. "I don't want to say that we're near a solution because it may evade us," he told reporters. "But I think we have successfully narrowed down the differences to a few key issues. And if we can resolve these few key issues in the days ahead, then I think we might get a resolution that would be strong." "I don't think there's any doubt that the threat of force and the threat of consequences... must be there orwe know that Iraq will not respond," Powell said. Bush spoke at the side of Mexican President Vicente Fox, who hosted an economic conference of Pacific Rim nations. Mexico does not support the hard-line resolution Bush seeks. Asked whether there would be consequences for any nation that does not support his views, Bush said, "The only consequence, of course, is with Saddam Hussein." Fox, speaking through an interpreter, said he stressed with Bush his hopes the United Nations could resolve the impasse. But the Mexican leader gave no indication he would yield to Bush's demand for a resolution with consequences. "We are listening and talking and we want to search for and do everything possible for a strong resolution, a resolution that will result in the prompt return of inspectors, that Iraq complies with the existing agreements with the United Nations," Fox said. Bush was asked after the appearance whether he heard what he wanted to hear from Fox on Iraq. He shook his head and said yes. "We did talk about world peace and Iraq," Bush said in the brief exchange with reporters. Though he speaks some Spanish, the president had the aid of an interpreter. He noted that Mexico is a member of the U.N. Security Council. "We discussed how to keep the world peaceful, how to hold people to account, how to make sure the United Nations is effective." Bush is unrelenting in his demand for a resolution that promises consequences, potentially military action, if the Iraqi president does not give up his weapons programs. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said. The new resolution Bush wants also would hold Saddam in "material breach" of previous resolutions requiring him to give up those programs. "We hope the council will be strong and send a signal to Saddam Hussein that this time the world means business," Fleischer said aboard Air Force One during Bush's flight to Mexico. "No one has ruled out the possibility that the U.N. will fail (to live up) to the challenge of the threat of Sad- dam Hussein," Fleischer said. Asked how difficult it would be to confront the Iraqi president without U.N. backing if Bush fails to win U.N. support, Fleischer replied, "Not very hard at all." Fleischer dismissed reports by the French, Russia and other U.N. nations that a watered down version of a U.N. resolution on Iraq is gaining steam. France said its new proposal has more support because it eliminates tough U.S. language that many fear could trigger an attack. But the United States said its draft has equal backing— if not more. The decision by France and Russia to introduce their own proposals Friday and challenge the new U.S. draft resolution suddenly put three documents into the hands of the 15 Security Council nations, setting the stage for tense negotiations. The rival documents reflect the division among the five veto-wielding permanent council members, who could not resolve their differences over a new approach to Iraq during six weeks of negotiations. Russia, Iraq's closest council ally, wants to stick as closely as possible to current inspection rules and eliminate any language that could allow an attack on Baghdad. Sunday, October 27, 2002 — B-3 Fishermen inspected their boats Saturday after they were washed ashore when Hurricane Kenna passed over San Bias, Mexico. (AP photo) Hurricane wrecks towns, floods resorts in Mexico By LISA J. ADAMS Associated Press Writer PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico — Hurricane Kenna roared to shore north of this resort city known for half- priced beer and breathtaking sunsets, unleashing a wall of water that tore apart a seafront famous to millions of tourists and sent waves washing down streets and through hotel lobbies. With the hurricane itself dissipated over northern Mexico on Saturday, tourists who had come for a relaxed vacation found themselves strolling past devastated hotels guarded by soldiers after the hurricane struck Friday. "We had a room facing east, so we really didn't think that much of it until we saw two feet of water running through the lobby. That got our attention," said Wayne lohnson, a Minnesota tourist starting the second week of a two-week vacation. "We really just enjoyed lying by the pool in the sun. But now the pool is filled with sand, so we're not sure what were going to do," he said. Kenna, once a Category 5 hurricane with 160 mph winds, pummeled Puerto Vallarta as it passed by offshore on Friday before slamming into San Bias, a smaller, more rustic tourist town 80 miles to the north. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Kenna had dissipated over land as it moved into northeast Mexico, but remnants were merging with a weather system now in the northwest Gulf of Mexico. Officials in Nayarit state, where San Bias is located, said a woman there died from a falling wall. Most of the buildings in San Bias were destroyed or badly damaged and fishing boats were toppled at its docks. Power was knocked out to a wide region and roads were slashed. Federal authorities said communications with as many as 30 largely Indian fishing villages in Nayarit were lost after Kenna hit and the government declared the region a disaster area, eligible for emergency aid funds. In Puerto Vallarta, seawater rushed in from the bay, floating cars, stranding boats and damaging hundreds of businesses. Tourists fled to high ground and those left homeless took shelter in the ballrooms of luxury hotels. On Saturday, troops used shovels and their hands to clear away chunks of wood, scraps of twisted metal and tons and tons of sand from the streets and parking lots. Smashed cars were overturned and half- buried in the streets near houses and hotels whose walls were partly ripped away. The downtown area, where police said they arrested 11 looters on Friday, was roped off to keep traffic out. At the Club del Sol Vallarta Hotel, wooden booths were ripped from the walls of the restaurant and the lobby was carpeted in sand. Fearful Serbs avoid voting Albanians elect local officials By GEORGE JAHN Associated Press Writer KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Yugoslavia — Kosovo's ethnic Albanians voted Saturday for mayors and town councilors promising better schooling, roads and public health services. But fearful Serbs stayed away, ignoring appeals from moderate leaders and U.N. promises of concessions. To ethnic Albanians — 90 percent of Kosovo's 2 million people who now run town halls with little Serb input — the municipal elections were uncontroversial. Advocating Kosovo's eventual independence, they saw them as a means to further their goal by increasing their political strength at the local level — and as a signpost on the road to peace and prosperity. "I want a better, happier life and a safer future," said 36 year-old Naxhi- je Ademi, a voter, mother of two and — like her husband — jobless. But Serbs are fiercely opposed to independence for die U.N.-run Yugoslav province. Serb supporters and opponents of the elections alike justify their stance in terms of their desperate struggle to claw back from near oblivion in a region they claim as their birthright. • Polls closed at around 7 p.m. Full preliminary results were not expect-, ed before Monday. But the Kosovo Action for Civic Initiatives monitoring group said that exit polls in Pristina, the capital, gave the Democratic League of Kosovo around 56 percent; the Democratic Party of Kosovo, around 26 percent, and the smaller Alliance for the Future of Kosovo 7 percent. The three also finished in that order in general elections a year ago and municipal elections in 2000 — the year after Kosovo came under U.N. control. Initial reports from the Organization for Security and Cooperation put overall turnout at around 50 percent, substantially below the two earlier elections. Michael Steiner, the province's U.N. administrator, suggested that was due in part to voter fatigue after three elections in as many years. But they also seemed to reflect general disenchantment in a province where unemployment is at 50 percent and the average monthly salary equals $150. No OSCE ethnic breakdown was available, but other monitoring agencies said only 16.3 percent of Serbs eligible to vote in the province did so by mid-afternoon, and the turnout among Serb expatriates was lower. That indicated overall Serb reluctance to vote and represented a blow to U.N. efforts to integrate them into the political scene. Across Kosovo, voters in 30 municipalities were electing 920 local councilors for U.N.-supervised assemblies that are slated to assume increased authority over the coming years. The Serbs were ruling minority of more man 200,000 just four years ago in Kosovo. Now the estimated 90,000 Serbs still in Kosovo are a fearful lot. Targeted by ethnic Albanian extremists, most live in enclaves protected by the NATO troops that arrived in 1999 after U.S.-led bombing ended a near century of Serbian dominance by forcing out the troops of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Steiner had promised Serbs a say in strictly municipal decisions — if they turn out in large numbers. Alluding to the low Serb turnout, he suggested that role now was in doubt, but said no decisions would be made before final results are analyzed Initially skeptical, the governments of Yugoslavia, and of Serbia, the dominant Yugoslav republic, on Friday and Saturday urged Kosovo's Serbs to vote. Moderate Kosovo Serb leaders also asked compatriots to exchange the gun for the ballot. But the appeals came only after weeks of vacillation and outright opposition to Serb participation from leading officials. Steiner blamed the "constant flow of negative and contradictory messages," for the low turnout. In ethnically split Kosovska Mitro- vica, where the Serb leadership had called for a boycott in its push to gain formal division of die city, only 24 of the city's 8,607 registered Serb voters had voted by mid-afternoon, said local officials. Israelis clamp down on West Bank town Expand your possibilities: Palestinian boy, 13, killed By LAURIE COPANS Associated Press Writer JERUSALEM — Israeli troops searched the West Bank town of Jenin on Saturday for Palestinian militants involved in a suicide bombing, and a U.S. envoy left the region with neither side optimistic about the latest peace proposal. A 13-year-old Palestinian boy was killed in the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip when soldiers shot at Palestinians throwing stones and firebombs, local residents said. The army did not immediately comment. In an army operation in lenin that began Friday, soldiers imposed a curfew on the 50,000 residents of the town and its refugee camp and began searching from house to house after dark Saturday. Dozens of Palestinians were arrested in the searches, including residents with no connections to militant groups, witnesses said. The army said soldiers arrested 30 suspects including a bomber on the way to an attack and two relatives of one of the two teenage suicide bombers who carried out an attack on a bus last Monday that kilted 14 people. In Rafah, a hot spot in the two years of fighting, soldiers shot and injured three Palestinians Saturday when a crowd began throwing firebombs and stones at bulldozers fortifying an army outpost there along the border with Egypt, witnesses and doctors said. One of the injured Palestinians, the 13-year-old boy, died of his wounds hours later, doctors said. After dark, about 15 tanks and two bulldozers moved into the camp and began demolishing structures not far from the border, residents said. Dozens of homes in the camp have been destroyed by the army, which accuses Palestinian militants of using them as hideouts to attack soldiers. The army did not immediately comment on the operation in Rafah. Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary of State William Burns wrapped up a visit during which he presented the Israelis and Palestinians with the peace plan that calls for a provisional Palestinian state by the end of 2003 and full independence by 2005. But Israel complained the proposal did not fully address its security concerns, while Palestinians said the plan's omission of presidential elections was an effort to sideline Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Arafat has said he is still studying the plan and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is slated to give a response within a week. Burns will take the comments back to the Quartet — the United States, United Nations, European Union, and Russia — which is to adopt the final plan by December. The U.S. snub of Arafat was clear in Burns' visit — the envoy met with a Palestinian legislator at her home just a few yards from Arafat's office in the West Bank town of Ramallah.The United States has criticized Arafat for not taking a firmer hand against anti-Israeli militants and has also pressed for political and economic reform in the Palestinian Authority. In explaining Israel's operation in lenin, Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer called the town a "capital of terror" and said troops would "clean up" the town. Arafat called the incursion a "crime." Near Jenin on Saturday, troops arrested an activist of the militant group Hamas, Mahmud Abadi, who was on his way to carry out a suicide bombing in Israel, the army said. The Israeli operation in Jenin will continue for a week, or longer, Israeli television reported Saturday. Israeli troops have been in most West Bank towns since June, an operation that began after a series of suicide bombings. Israeli troops pulled back to the outskirts of Jenin on Oct. 18, but the suicide attack came three days later, and Israel said the bombers were from the Jenin area. In addition to those in Jenin, about 15 Palestinians were arrested in the West Bank over the weekend, the army said. Overnight in the West Bank town of Nablus, members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a militia linked to Arafat's Fatah movement, dragged two sisters from their home and shot them both in their legs, claiming they collaborated with Israel's intelligence services. One of the women, Haifa Rihan, a 39-year-old divorced mother of six, died afterward, an Al Aqsa member said on condition of anonymity. 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