Coalition forces in Iraq won the help of Fallujah's civic leaders, who called publicly for the city's militant resisters to surrender their weapons. If the appeal fails, however, US marines are "more than prepared" for a final assault to take Fallujah, commanders said. But, in unusually blunt terms, chief US administrator Paul Bremer said Iraqi security forces "will not be able, on their own, to deal with" threats to postwar recovery and will need a continued heavy American presence after the scheduled June 30 handover of responsibility for their own affairs.Skip to next paragraph
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Following through on his campaign promise, new Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced Sunday he'll bring his nation's soldiers home from Iraq as soon as possible. Zapatero's defense minister pledged that "never again" will a Madrid government "turn our back on the UN" or on Spaniards "who don't understand and don't accept" the sending of troops to Iraq. On hearing of the announcement, radical Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr ordered his militant followers to "maintain the safety" of the Spanish forces until they can leave. The US, British, and Australian governments expressed regret at Zapatero's decision. Meanwhile, no more Polish troops will be sent to Iraq to make up for the pullout of the 1,300 Spanish soldiers, their government said.
With his government calling US Vice President Cheney "mentally deranged," reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong Il followed him to Beijing for talks with the Chinese government on nuclear weapons and a request for increased economic aid, reports said. The Beijing government is North Korea's closest friend. Cheney last week shared new evidence with his Chinese hosts of the North Korean nuclear program and sought a tougher stance from them on ending the confrontation. Two sets of negotiations in Beijing on the matter have ended without progress, but a third is expected by midyear.
An extension of the deadline for killing or capturing suspected Al Qaeda and Taliban fugitives is possible for Pakistani tribesmen "if they deliver positively," government officials said. An estimated 2,000 tribesmen were given until Tuesday to finish the sweep of the South Waziristan region along the border with Afghanistan or become targets of Pakistan's armed forces themselves. Tribal elders asked for 10 more days to complete the mission, despite criticism that their followers are undisciplined.