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United Nations, N.Y.
French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas and New Zealand Deputy Premier Geoffrey Palmer met twice this week in New York to try to resolve their countries' differences over the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace's flagship, by French secret agents in New Zealand July 10. France has now officially admitted its responsibility in the incident, which cost the life of one crew member. New Zealand has demanded (1) an apology, (2) compensation, (3) the arrest and transfer to New Zealand of the guilty parties who went into hiding in France.Skip to next paragraph
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According to reliable sources, New Zealand is unlikely to receive satisfaction on the third point (France never extradites its nationals), but will receive material compensation (in an amount yet to be determined). As for the phrasing of a public apology by France, this may be the subject of negotiations between the two countries' juridical experts for some time.
``France wants to avoid public humiliation, but at the same time it is willing to come down from its previous haughtiness and to seek to restore its image as a nation that shows consideration toward [other countries],'' one informed diplomat says.
New Zealand expects France to make amends for the affront to its sovereignty, but inasmuch as it needs friends within the European Community, to which it sells butter and meat, it is not interested in inflating the issue out of proportion, observers here believe.
US, Japan plan to settle trade access by year-end
The US and Japan agreed yesterday to try to settle by the end of the year problems over access to Japanese markets that have contributed to a heavy trade imbalance between the two countries. The goal was set in talks between Secretary of State George Shultz and Japanese Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe as Congress and the administration headed for a battle over protectionist legislation that could badly damage US-Japanese trade. Mr. Shultz and Mr. Abe are in New York at the UN General Assembly.
Sikh moderates score big in Punjabi state elections
Sikh moderates appeared headed for an unprecedented victory over Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's Congress Party yesterday in the Punjab state elections. The Sikh Akali Dal party won two of the first four assembly races declared and was leading in 71 other races for the 115-member state legislature, election officials said.
Mr. Gandhi's Congress Party, which won the last election in 1980, won one seat and was leading in 26 races, officials said. The opposition Indian People's Party won one seat.
Communications minister leaves Cabinet in Canada
Communications Minister Marcel Masse resigned from Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's Cabinet. He said Wednesday he was stepping down because of an investigation into his election spending during last September's campaign. It is the second resignation of a senior Cabinet minister in three days. Fisheries Minister John Fraser resigned Monday after it was learned he had authorized the sale to supermarkets of tuna that had been branded unfit for human consumption by his own fisheries inspectors.
France raps US `star wars' before General Assembly
France yesterday sharply questioned President Reagan's ``star wars'' missile defense plan and called on the superpowers to bar antimissile and antisatellite weapons. In a speech to the UN General Assembly, External Relations Minister Roland Dumas also called for deep cuts in US and Soviet offensive missiles and defended France's own controversial nuclear testing program.