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MIDDLE EAST The Lebanese Army went on high alert in south Lebanon yesterday after Israeli warplanes blasted a Syrian-backed Amal militia base in the area. The Defense Ministry said Saturday's Israeli air strike was an attempt to slow "the march of peace" in Lebanon.... Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak arrived in Damascus yesterday for a closed-door meeting with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad on regional peace moves. Jordan's King Hussein met with Assad Saturday, and said that coordination was continuing to reach a

compatible Arab position on US and Soviet peace initiatives.... In Kuwait City, the politically charged trials of more than 600 people - mostly Palestinians and Iraqis - accused of collaboration during the Iraqi occupation were set to begin yesterday.... A brotherhood treaty between Lebanon and Syria will establish a council of top officials from both countries that will design key defense, foreign, and economic policies, a Syrian newspaper reported.


In Caracas, the Andean Pact Saturday called on President Bush to agree to a second summit to study the fight against drug trafficking. The presidents of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela closed a two-day conference agreeing to set their economies firmly on the road to total integration. They set a 1995 deadline for forming a regional common market.... In Matamoros, Mexico, hundreds of Mexican marines and police surrounded the Cereso state prison Saturday after 18 inmates were killed and 1 0

wounded in fighting between rival drug gangs. Fighting began Friday when drug baron Oliverio Chavez was shot and seriously injured by members of another gang.... In Rio de Janeiro, Economy Minister Marcilio Marques Moreira Saturday denied rumors that Brazil would copy an Argentine anti-inflation plan and link its currency to the US dollar.


The African National Congress Saturday suspended talks with the South African government on abolishing apartheid, demanding that the state first address the problem of violence in black townships.... Northern Somali separatists declared independence for their region Saturday and named Somali National Movement leader Abduraham Ahmed Ali president. SNM representatives said the proclaimed state would be called the Somaliland Republic, and would restore the former colonial boundaries of 1960.... An armed g a

ng killed engineer Brian Bowden, the last Briton left in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.... Fighting raged in Ethiopia Saturday despite plans for peace talks this month, and the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Front said it had seized two important towns and part of a key road from the Red Sea port of Asab.... A plot by the fundamentalist Ennahdha Movement to overthrow the government of Tunisia and replace it with an Islamic republic was foiled, the government reported Saturday.

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