An emergency meeting between senior Iranians and the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency ended with no word on its outcome. The IAEA is due to report Friday to the UN Security Council on Iranian compliance with demands that enrichment of uranium cease, and it is expected to say that the Islamic republic has not been cooperative. The Iranians were not believed to have brought any offer of concessions with them.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged an "immediate" international conference to resolve conflicts with Israel and offered assurances that his rivals in the new Hamas-led government would not be an obstacle. The US, Russia, the European Union, or the UN should mediate such talks, Abbas said. The proposal drew a cool response from Israel, whose foreign ministry said a formula for resuming negotiations already exists in the stalled "road map" to peace, which calls for an ultimate Palestinian state but only as the final phase.
Air Force planes pounded Tamil areas of northern Sri Lanka for a second straight day following yet another apparent rebel attack, and thousands of noncombatants reportedly were fleeing in panic. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) claimed the airstrikes killed 12 people and wounded 27 others who couldn't be transported to hospitals because roads were closed. An LTTE spokesman threatened retaliation if the attacks continued. Truce monitors rejected suggestions that the two sides are headed for a return to all-out civil war but called "what is going on" a serious violation of the 2002 cease-fire.
The blockade of major highways in Nepal was lifted by communist rebels Wednesday after King Gyanendra's decision to reinstate Parliament. But they said the nation's political parties had until Friday to begin rewriting the Constitution with the aim of limiting or even eliminating the monarchy. The blockade had cut supply routes to Kathmandu, the capital, and other cities for food and cooking fuel.
The chief justices of the three highest courts in Thailand scheduled unprecedented meetings Thursday and Friday amid speculation that they'll annul the election earlier this month called by Prime Minister Thak-sin Shinawatra and order a new vote. Word of the meeting followed an appeal by King Bhumibol Adulyadej that the courts find a way out of the nation's ongoing political crisis. Voters on April 2 were left with a slate of candidates mostly from Thak-sin's party because the leading opposition groups boycotted the election. But he still couldn't form a new government because too few of the winners had the necessary minimum percentage of the vote. He subsequently resigned under pressure.
The political party of Nobel Peace Prize-winning democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi was waiting to learn whether Burma's military government would take away its legal status. The junta said it had enough information on the National League for Democracy's "alleged links" to dissident groups based in neighboring Thailand to take such action. It said the NLD no longer has "the trust of the people" and that no further dialogue with it "is possible." Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for most of the time since the NLD won Burma's 1990 election by a landslide, only to have the government refuse to yield power.
Jubilant opponents of newly elected Prime Minister Snyder Rini jammed the streets of the Solomon Islands capital in celebration after he quit rather than face a vote of no-confidence in parliament. Rini had predicted he'd win, but that was before 29 supporters in the legislature switched sides. His elevation from deputy prime minister last week triggered rioting in Honiara that left much of the city's Chinatown in ruins. Ex-Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare appeared the leading candidate to succeed him. If elected, he said he'd favor cutting diplomatic ties to Taiwan.