Algeria Names New Transition Government
A GOVERNMENT made up largely of unknown technocrats was named on June 18 in Algeria. The move came two weeks after emergency rule was declared and elections postponed, following violent protests by Islamic fundamentalists. The new team, selected by President Chadli Bendjedid and led by Prime Minister Sid Ahmed Ghozali, will run the country until multiparty elections in October.
Mr. Ghozali's government contains three innovations: a new Ministry for Human Rights, another Ministry to manage relations with parliament and different parties, and the introduction of professional people new to politics.
Jordan's king appoints new premier
King Hussein asked Foreign Minister Taher Masri to form a new government June 18, after accepting Prime Minister Mudar Badran's resignation.
Mr. Masri's appointment came a week after Hussein endorsed a national charter that paves the way for multiparty democracy, after more than three decades of autocratic rule.
The Middle East peace process - in which Jordan is a key player - made the change of government necessary, analysts said. By appointing a moderate Jordanian of Palestinian origin, they added, Hussein was signaling his commitment to the United States-led Middle East peace drive and to greater democracy.
"Masri has been very active in present and past US peace efforts," an official source said. "He is flexible and has moderate policies and is respected and accepted by many Jordanians and Palestinians alike because of his background."
A foreign minister for more than five years, Masri belongs to an influential Palestinian family and was born in the West Bank, now under Israeli occupation. He has a degree in business from the University of Texas.
South Lebanon ambush
An Israeli Army patrol ambushed Arab guerrillas in southern Lebanon June 18, killing two and capturing a third, security sources said. They said a fourth guerrilla escaped.
The identity and affiliation of the guerrillas was not known, one of the sources said, but "they apparently were on their way to attack a target inside Israeli territory."
Several Palestinian factions, as well as local leftist and Muslim fundamentalist groups, operate in the area.
The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the guerrillas were attacked while driving a blue BMW about a mile north of Israel's border in the Israeli Army's self-declared "security zone."
The incident occurred just 300 feet from the headquarters of UNIFIL, the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon.
Iraq frees Briton held on spying charges
After the intervention of former British Premier Edward Heath, Iraq has released a British engineer sentenced to life imprisonment for spying.
On June 18, Douglas Brand was reported to be on his way to Amman, Jordan, where he will be turned over to the British ambassador. Mr. Brand was sentenced last month during a closed hearing in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital.
Britain has said it would not support the lifting of sanctions on Iraq until President Saddam Hussein's government freed Brand and another British prisoner, Ian Richter.
Brand was arrested in September while trying to flee southern Iraq. Before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, he worked for a Scottish company, clearing mines in the Shatt al Arab waterway between Iraq and Iran. Mr. Richter was imprisoned in 1986 on corruption charges.
On a trip to Baghdad last fall, Mr. Heath secured the release of British hostages who were being held as part of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's "human shield."