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By Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn and Matthew Clark / March 14, 2003



A UN Security Council vote on a new resolution authorizing use of force against Iraq appeared likely to be delayed yet again - perhaps until Monday at the earliest. Britain said it was willing to drop the condition in its proposal that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein appear on TV to confess that he had concealed weapons of mass destruction. But France, Russia, and Germany all rejected the British plan, and Guinea, the Council chairman and a vital swing vote, said it now might abstain.

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Unidentified "elements" of the US government and senior Iraqi military officials already are engaged in "secret" surrender negotiations, CNN reported. But the TV network said details of the talks could not be disclosed out of concern that Saddam Hussein could identify the participants and exact retribution. CNN said the negotiations are in addition to the widely publicized air-drops of leaflets over Iraq, urging that nation's Army units to surrender without a fight.

Without saying why, the ruling party of Turkey summoned parliament to work through the weekend, a time when legislators usually are off-duty. Analysts said the move suggests a new vote on basing US troops there for war with Iraq might be taken. But as a procedural matter, new Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan must first complete the formation of his Cabinet.

Dozens of suspects were arrested in Serbia for being linked to the underworld group accused of murdering Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. But authorities said others in the Zemun Clan, "the most organized gang in the Balkans," had gone into hiding. Djindjic had powerful enemies, among them ultranationalists and the party of ex-Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica. They either boycotted a memorial ceremony for him Thursday or criticized the state of emergency imposed by his interim successor, or both.

Amid tight security, the new power-sharing government of Ivory Coast was introduced by President Laurent Gbagbo, who called the occasion a "historic moment many thought we wouldn't achieve." But the ceremony was boycotted by opposition groups and the main contingent of the nation's rebel movement, raising new concerns that rebel ministers and Gbagbo's own deputies can work together successfully. The power-sharing deal giving rebels control of key Cabinet ministries triggered weeks of angry protests. Some rebels said they stayed away because "small details" remain incomplete.

Four months after a court ordered his release from prison, Colombian police rearrested ex-CalĂ­ cocaine cartel boss Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela on new charges of trafficking the drug to the US. If convicted, he could be jailed again for 12 years. The order freeing him last November was a major embarrassment for President Alvaro Uribe, who has been waging a vigorous anticrime campaign.

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