World

Adding a new twist to the controversy over war with Iraq, French President Jacques Chirac told CBS's "60 Minutes" he'd accept a 30-day deadline for disarmament if the UN's weapons inspections chiefs agreed. Previously, Chirac and the leaders of Russia and Germany had proposed a 120-day limit. With war appearing imminent, Germany's Foreign Ministry said its embassy in Baghdad would close as soon as all remaining German nationals left Iraq.

Chief UN weapons inspectors Hans Blix and Mohamad ElBaradei said they'd consult with the Security Council Monday on whether to accept an invitation to return to Iraq for new discussions on disarmament. The invitation specified they come "at the earliest possible date," although such a trip likely would complicate US and British war plans. Meanwhile, the Baghdad government divided the country into four defensive zones in preparation for a US-led assault.

No new vote on whether to allow US troops to use Turkey as a staging base for attacks on Iraq will be considered, new Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, until after his Cabinet wins needed approval by parliament. A vote of confidence could take at least another week. In response, a senior US official said the offer of $15 billion in aid to Turkey in exchange for granting the OK to base troops there had been withdrawn.

FBI and Pakistani intelligence agents were interrogating another senior Al Qaeda leader after his arrest late Saturday in the city of Lahore. Yasir al-Jaziri, a US-educated Moroccan, is believed to be deeply involved in the terrorist organization's business operations, communications, and logistics, although not in plotting or conducting attacks. His arrest was made possible as a result of information provided by Khalid Sheik Mohamad, who was captured March 1, also in Pakistan.

To avoid further turmoil, the ruling party of Serbia nominated assassinated Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic's deputy as his successor. Zoran Zivkovic's confirmation by parliament appears only a formality, since his Democratic Party holds a comfortable majority of seats, and analysts expected him to continue with Djindjic's agenda of political and economic reform. Hundreds of thousands of Serbs attended Djincjic's funeral Saturday in Belgrade.

Rebel forces appeared to be in control of the Central African Republic's capital, declaring their leader the new president. Bangui fell as the nation's head of state, Ange-Felix Patasse, was attending a regional summit in Niger. His guards reportedly were looting the presidential palace. Patasse, who has long been accused of corruption, had survived coup attempts in each of the past six years.

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