In an 11th-hour compromise, Palestinian Prime Minister- designate Mahmoud Abbas and Yasser Arafat agreed on the formation of a new cabinet. The outlines of the deal were not known as the Monitor went to press. The 88-member Palestinian Legislative Council still must approve Abbas's Cabinet nominees via a vote that was expected as soon as this weekend.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
The first oil since the start of the war was flowing from wells in southern Iraq to storage tanks as coalition troops and the nation's own workers tried to preempt would-be saboteurs. Against that backdrop, France - in a surprise move - said it was agreeable to suspending UN economic sanctions against Iraq, although it refused to specify the conditions on which it would insist for doing so. The French foreign minister said the UN still should play an important role in rebuilding Iraq.
The trial for treason of a leading Muslim cleric linked to Al Qaeda opened in Indonesia with him rejecting the charges as "lies from America." Abu Bakr Bashir is believed to be the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islam-iyah, the movement allegedly behind the Oct. 12 terrorist bombing of nightclubs on Bali that killed 202 people. As his trial began, police announced the arrests of 18 members of the group, among them its acting chief, plus the discovery of a cache of explosives similar to those used in the Bali attack.
Amid veiled threats of street protests by opposition supporters, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo was declared reelected to a new four-year term. Opponents vowed to reject the outcome, and the European Union, which sent monitors throughout Nigeria for the voting last Saturday said the election was "marred by serious irregularities ... and fraud."
Expectations of a runoff election for president of Argentina were growing as late opinion polls showed five of the 22 candidates with between 13 percent and 18 percent support for Sunday's voting. To win in the first round, a candidate must take at least 45 percent of the ballots. The leader was ex-President Carlos Menem, although the candidate with the most momentum appeared to be rightist former Economy Minister Ricardo López Murphy.
Hundreds of Cyprus residents, many with tears in their eyes, took advantage of the first relaxing of travel restrictions in 29 years and crossed into each others' zones, visiting villages they hadn't seen since the island was divided. Checkpoints were ordered opened for day trips by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash as a confidence-boosting measure after a proposed UN peace deal with Greek Cypriots collapsed last month.