World

"Don't look beyond March," Britain's Ambassador to the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, told journalists as his government and the US fought for passage of a new Security Council resolution that would extend Iraq's deadline for disarmament. But amid intensive diplomacy, only Bulgaria appeared ready to join the US, Britain, and Spain in favor of the resolution. Mexico, Chile, Angola, Cameroon, and Guinea remained uncommitted Tuesday. Pakistan has said it will abstain. Russia and France have vowed to veto the move. China, Germany, and Syria also oppose it.

In a reversal of the rhetoric he used in his successful election campaign, new South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun told military academy graduates the alliance between his country and the US now is more vital than ever. He said the bonds "should be maintained even more so." Senior US defense officials have suggested that American troops could be pulled from the tense border with North Korea, where they act as a "trip wire" against possible invasion, or even withdrawn entirely. Meanwhile, in another day of belligerence, North Korean news media said by insisting on multilateral talks over its nuclear weapons program - rather than one-to-one discussions - the US "would only make a clash [between them] unavoidable."

Hamas and Islamic Jihad both rejected the establishment of a Palestinian prime minister, calling the move a ploy imposed by the US and Israel to crush their "resistance to occupation" by the Jewish state. Although the choice for the post, Mahmoud Abbas, is considered likely to be given responsibility only for internal Palestinian affairs, a Hamas leader said his mission would be "stopping the uprising." But militancy, the Hamas spokesman said, "is the sole solution."

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan declared an end to months of effort to reunite the Greek and Turkish populations of Cyprus. His talks with their leaders, Tassos Papadopoulos and Rauf Denktash, respectively, collapsed because of such issues as how many Greek and Turkish troops could be stationed on the island and whether Greek Cypriots had the right to return to homes they fled almost 30 years ago. The European Union quickly repeated its commitment to admit only the Greek Cypriot side into membership next year and warned Turkey's government that the collapse of unification efforts threatened its own hopes for admission.

Five federal narcotics agents were killed when the crop-spraying helicopters in which they were riding were shot down by high-powered weapons fire in western Mexico's Guerrero state. The helicopters were hit within moments of taking off Monday to fumigate an illegal opium poppy-growing region. Investigators were rushed to the scene.

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