US marines were pulling back from Fallujah, Iraq, in favor of another attempt at a truce with resisters. Spokesmen wouldn' t elaborate on the move, except to say it would allow an all-Iraqi force to patrol the city. There was no word on casualties after two days of intense fighting with resisters. Meanwhile, attacks on American forces elsewhere in Iraq killed 10 more soldiers Thursday, one of the largest one-day losses in months.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
An angry Secretary-General Kofi Annan complained that allegations of corruption in the UN's oil-for-food program in Iraq consist of "outrageous and exaggerated ... misinformation" that is causing "a very serious crisis" in the world body. The allegations, which surfaced in January and have multiplied since, make it appear that Saddam Hussein's regime "did nothing wrong; it was all the UN," Annan said. Among the allegations: that hundreds of non-Iraqis, among them UN officials, profited from the oil sales. Annan's son Kojo has been linked to the scandal through his role with a company hired by the UN to ensure the oil-for-food program was working as intended.
Momentum grew for a new round of six-nation discussions on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, although the Pyongyang government said progress was entirely dependent on the US's attitude. Working-level talks involving the reclusive communist state, rival South Korea, Japan, Russia, the US, and host China are scheduled to open May 12 in Beijing, where two previous sets of discussions have been held. North Korea's official news agency says the focus must be on what "reward" the US will offer in return for discussing a freeze in the weapons program.
Fifty-five governments pledged "unambiguously" to crack down on rising anti-Semitism and agreed that Middle East violence never justifies assaults against Jews. Such attacks have increased, especially in Europe, as the Middle East has become more volatile. But spokesmen for Jewish groups said the declaration - adopted at a conference in Berlin of the Organization for Security and Coop- eration in Europe and North America - could not alone end the problem.
Amid allegations of fraud, pro-Western Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski claimed victory in Macedonia's election for a successor to President Boris Trajkovski. All-but-final returns gave Crvenkovski 62 percent of the vote, and turnout was large enough to make the outcome valid. The nationalist opposition, however, demanded annulment on grounds of ballot-box stuffing and refused to accept the result. Trajkovski died in a plane crash in February.