MIDDLE EAST PEACE TALKS PROGRESS Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said yesterday he wanted secret peace talks with Syria. He said he hoped negotiations with Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan would lead directly to peace treaties without an interim declaration of principles such as that reached with the Palestine Liberation Organization. In related news, PLO chairman Yasser Arafat has ordered all PLO troops in Arab countries to prepare to move into Palestinian self-rule zones after Israel withdraws from the occupied territories of the West Bank and Jericho, PLO military sources said yesterday. Under the agreement signed by the PLO and Israel on Sept. 13, security in the two occupied zones will be handed over to the PLO after Israel withdraws. It authorized a ``strong police force'' that will be armed. Ukranian arms

Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev Saturday blasted the Ukrainian parliament's decision to keep some of the country's nuclear weapons, a move he said could destabilize Europe. The parliament approved the START-1 arms reduction treaty Thursday but said the 1991 pact applied only to 42 percent of the more than 1,600 warheads in Ukraine. Ukraine was the only 1 of 4 former Soviet republics with nuclear arms which had failed to ratify START-1. Winnie Mandela safe

Winnie Mandela was resting at home yesterday after her driver was shot dead beside her Saturday in an attack South African police said was not an assassination attempt. Her driver/bodyguard was killed when a black man approached her car and shot him. Cairo violence

Gunmen shot and killed three policemen and wounded four civilians yesterday in a town square in southern Egypt, the government said. Police had no information about the gunmen, but the hit-and-run attack was similar to others carried out by Muslim radicals. More than 225 people have died during the past 21 months in attacks by the militants or in their clashes with police. Muslim extremists want to overthrow Egypt's secular regime and replace it with Islamic rule. Georgia politics

Georgian leader Eduard Shevardnadze yesterday launched a new political party in an attempt to establish a clear parliamentary majority rather than continue to try to rule by consensus. Mr. Shevardnadze told a founding conference that the new party, the Citizens' Union, will be an umbrella organization of smaller parties that will retain their individual political manifestos and identities, but will act as a bloc on parliamentary issues. UN in Kuwait

One hundred Bangladeshi troops will police the Kuwait-Iraq border under orders to open fire if necessary to stop Iraqi incursions, the UN said yesterday. The troops will reinforce unarmed UN observers who have had to deal with three incursions in the last month the latest involving up to 600 people on Saturday. Uganda elections

Uganda will hold elections March 28 for a parliament to replace the council that has ruled since a military coup in 1986, the election commissioner said. Candidates must run only as individuals, not party members. Ugandans will elect 214 members of parliament, whose first task will be to discuss a new constitution. Halperin nomination

The Senate sent the controversial Pentagon nomination of Morton Halperin back to the White House without a vote Saturday night, leaving President Clinton to decide whether to resubmit it in 1994. Mr. Halperin has been the target of opposition from conservatives who claim his writings and activities indicate he could pose a threat to national security. Japan UN ambassador

The father of Crown Princess Masako will become Japan's next ambassador to the UN, two Japanese newspapers reported yesterday, quoting government sources. One newspaper stated that the government believes career diplomat Hisashi Owada's international contacts and name recognition will help Japan's chances of winning a permanent seat on the Security Council.

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