Greece Cuts Ties, Closes Port to Punish Macedonia
ANGERED at Macedonia's refusal to change its name, Greece suspended diplomatic relations with the former Yugoslav republic yesterday and declared the northern port of Salonica off-limits to Macedonian ships as long as Macedonia continues to go by that name. Greece contends the name and use of a Greek symbol on the Macedonian flag suggests Skopje has designs on the northern Greek province also called Macedonia.
Salonica, 40 miles south of Macedonia's border, is a principle trade route through which the landlocked country gets its fuel. Alternative routes take far longer.
Greece also suspended its consulate activities in Skopje. Some in the Macedonian capital claim there is a large minority in Greece that speaks the Macedonian Slavic dialect. Greece counters that, while some people may speak both the dialect and Greek, they are not necessarily an ethnic minority.
The break in relations was certain to earn Greece criticism from its partners in the European Union. Six EU members have already extended diplomatic recognition to ``The Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia,'' as the country was named temporarily when it was admitted to the United Nations in April. Washington extended similar recognition to Skopje last week. US pushes for stiffer Haitian sanctions
THE United States circulated a controversial UN Security Council resolution Tuesday that sharply tightens the trade embargo against Haiti, grounds private aircraft, and freezes some Haitian financial assets. But the draft also exempts goods from US firms assembled in Haiti, a provision that may delay a Council vote on the six-page resolution. Venezuela, France, and Canada reluctantly agreed to the draft despite objections to some of its provisions, diplomats said. The four nations form a UN advisory group on Haiti.
Also on Tuesday, ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide rejected a US-backed plan for him to name a new prime minister. The US said it wanted Fr. Aristide to make the appointment quickly as the first step in a process it says would ultimately lead to his return to power. But Aristide rejected the plan and instead called on Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, the Haitian military leader who overthrew him in a 1991 coup, to yield power unconditionally. Egypt warns foreign reporters
AS Egypt's battle with Muslim radicals intensifies, the Interior Ministry on Tuesday warned of possible legal action against foreign reporters over what it considers overblown coverage of extremist attacks. The warning underscores Egypt's effort to reassure tourists about the country's safety following threats by extremists against foreign tourists and investors.
Tourism, a major foreign-currency earner in Egypt, has been hit hard by the militants' fight to replace Egypt's secular government with strict Islamic rule. Nearly 300 people have died in extremist-related violence in the past two years.
A small bomb exploded in a bank in Cairo Tuesday, breaking glass but hurting no one, the state-run Middle East News Agency said. Military prosecutors on the same day demanded the death penalty for all 15 defendants charged with trying to assassinate Prime Minister Atef Sedki last November. Mr. Sedki escaped, but a 12-year-old schoolgirl died in the blast. Twenty-nine defendants have been hanged in the last year after being convicted in military trials for Islamic extremist attacks.
Tuesday's ministry statement accused foreign journalists of failing to observe standards of ``precision and objectivity'' that would be applied in their own countries. The statement denied a report Monday that militants fired at a bus carrying Romanian and Egyptian workers in Assiut and blamed the shooting on disgruntled workers. The radical Gamaa Islamiya or Islamic Group claimed responsibility.