Presidential elections for the Palestinian National Authority will be held Jan. 9, Palestinian leaders announced Sunday. Many believe that only Marwan Barghouti, a charismatic leader serving five life sentences in an Israeli jail, has the popular support necessary to bridge deep divides between rival Palestinian factions. Mahmoud Abbas, the likely Fatah nominee for president, survived an assissination attempt Sunday while accepting condolences for Yasser Arafat's recent death.
Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo did not attend an emergency summit convened Sunday by Nigeria to resolve his country's crisis, saying he preferred to remain home. Regional leaders discussed at the meeting a report by South African President Thabo Mbeki, who visited Ivory Coast last week after being appointed by the African Union to mediate a peaceful solution to the conflict. Gbagbo replaced the moderate head of the military Saturday with a hard-liner.
Insurgent attacks in Mosul and other Iraqi cities forced some US troops from Fallujah Sunday, where they were occupying the entire city six days after invading it a second time. In a video obtained by Reuters Saturday, several militant groups made a joint statement vowing to take the Fallujah fight to all corners of Iraq. As the Monitor went to press, 31 American troops, six Iraqi soldiers, and more than 1,200 insurgents were reported killed in Fallujah.
It will be "quite possible" to settle the international standoff over North Korea's nuclear program if the US changes its hard-line stance, Pyongyang said Saturday in its first official comment on the prospects for six-nation nuclear talks since President Bush, who has insisted on bilateral talks, was reelected. North Korea also made discussion of South Korea's nuclear experiment, detailed in an International Atomic Energy Agency report Thursday, a prerequisite to multilateral talks.
Northern Ireland's Ulster Defense Association, the region's most active paramilitary group, committed itself to the peace process two days after Britain said it would officially recognize the Protestant group's ceasefire.