Splits opened among Western governments and neighbors of North Korea as they sought a diplomatic solution to the standoff with the communist nation over its missile tests and nuclear weapons program. South Korean officials told visiting North Korean envoy Kwon Ho-ung that his government is making the region unstable. But they also accused Japan of worsening the situation via rhetoric about a preemptive strike against the North's missile bases. Meanwhile, China's Foreign Ministry called a draft UN Security Council resolution sponsored by Japan and the US that proposes sanctions against the North "an overreaction" that will "increase tension" if approved.Skip to next paragraph
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Senior Iranians shrugged off a US contention that "six weeks is long enough" to reply to an offer of incentives to give up the enrichment of uranium. Nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana wound up their widely watched meeting in Brussels Tuesday without any indication of what Iran's response will be, and Larijani told journalists afterward that "consultations will now be done by both sides" just to decide "how to proceed." Any discussions that follow, he said will be "a long process [and] we must be patient."
Defiant separatist rebels in Chechnya vowed to "never give up on jihad" despite the death of their leader Monday, and Russia's defense minister agreed that "the killing of that terrorist doesn't mean the fight against militants is over." In an Internet posting, the rebels said the expressions of joy by Russians and "other infidels" at Shamil Basayev's death show "a new generation of Muslims" that "we are [their] enemies." News reports said Basayev was killed by a missile that homed in on his cellphone – the same method used to kill his predecessor, Dzhokar Dudayev, a decade ago. Visiting Chechnya, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov acknowledged that "there is still work to do" in defeating the rebels.
Tamil separatist rebels in Sri Lanka had no immediate comment on an invitation Tuesday by President Mahinda Raja-pakse to participate in amending the Constitution to grant them more autonomy, although that was one of their key demands of his government. The offer was seen as Rajapakse's first concrete diplomatic step vis-a-vis the rebels since his election last November. But Agence France-Presse also said he pledged $1.25 billion to rebuild devastated Tamil areas so they can "participate in economic activity." More than 700 people have died so far this year in violence involving the rebels and government forces.
Rocket-launchers, pickup trucks mounted with machine guns, and other weapons were handed over to the Islamic militia that controls Somalia's capital as hundreds of secular clan fighters surrendered Tuesday. Some reports said their leader, warlord Abdi Awale Qaybdid, fled Mogadishu under cover of darkness for Baidoa, home of the battered nation's powerless interim government. But other reports claimed Qaybdid, the last holdout among the warlords who had occupied much of the capital, had been wounded in the fighting and was hiding there. At least 77 people died and 150 others were hurt in two days of heavy gun battles prior to Tuesday's surrender.
At least 33 people were killed and dozens of others were hurt in the collision of a passenger train and a packed bus in northern Bangladesh early Tuesday. The victims all were from the bus, whose driver had tried to race the train to an "unauthorized" crossing regularly used as a short cut by local traffic. The crossing has no signal alarm or gatekeeper, the authorities said.