World

International reaction to President Bush's speech on Palestinian statehood ranged from conditional support to angry rejection of his call for the ouster of Yasser Arafat. Among those offering a cautious welcome: the governments of Russia, Britain, Japan, Egypt, and Jordan and the European Union and Arab League. But Syria, Islamic Jihad, and most Arabic-language newspapers blasted it as one-sided toward Israel. Arafat himself said he didn't believe Bush's speech referred to him and told a news conference "it is up to the Palestinians alone to choose their leader."

Israeli forces extended their takeover of Palestinian areas in the West Bank to Hebron, arresting more than 100 people and destroying a house they said was used to make explosive belts. The move left only relatively isolated Jericho free of occupying troops.

The remaining commanders of Yugoslavia's armed forces were lobbied by President Vojislav Kostunica to support his firing of Gen. Nebojsa Pavkovic, the controversial Army chief. The move had the backing of the European Union as a necessary step in the country's return to good graces on the Continent, but not of influential Yugoslav political leaders. Pavkovic, who led the Army in the 1999 confrontation with NATO over Kosovo, refused to accept dismissal.

Leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized democracies arrived in western Canada for today's start of their annual summer meeting. The conference is being held in an isolated mountain resort at Kananaskis, Alberta, in part to put the presidents and prime ministers beyond the reach of antiglobalization protesters. Bush's speech on Palestinian statehood is expected to overshadow all other agenda items, such as global terrorism, economic recovery, and alleviating poverty in Africa.

Saying, "Yes, help is help," President Muhamad Khatami of Iran reversed course and told Reuters his government would accept an offer of humanitarian aid from the US following Saturday's earthquake after all. Earlier, Iran said only aid from nongovernmental American organizations would be welcome. The quake killed 229 people, injured 1,300 others, and destroyed an estimated 9,500 buildings. Bush includes Iran in his "axis of evil" for its support of terrorism and development of weapons of mass destruction.

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