News In Brief

Russian troops unexpectedly beat NATO peacekeepers to the Kosovo capital, Pristina, Saturday, creating confusion in the alliance. Tensions ran high as Serbs and an estimated 200 Russians denied NATO soldiers access to an airport outside Pristina. Moscow officials claim the preemptive arrival was intended to ensure that Russian forces would not be overshadowed by NATO in peacekeeping efforts. Meanwhile, the Kremlin said Russian President Boris Yeltsin and US President Bill Clinton agreed in a telephone conversation yesterday that intensive talks were needed to find a quick agreement on a Kosovo peace force.

British paratroopers with the NATO-led peace force shot and killed a man after he opened fire at them in the Kosovo capital, Pristina, a British officer said. It was not immediately known if the assailant was member of the Serbian military or police. The incident was the first reported violence involving NATO peace troops since they began entering Kosovo Saturday.

A day after emergency talks in New Delhi failed to break a stalemate over the disputed province of Kashmir, both India and Pakistan warned their countries to be prepared for war. Fierce fighting continued to rage in India's northern mountains, where Indian troops are trying to push guerrillas back into the Pakistan. After the weekend's icy diplomatic exchange, Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz said, "In sum, we want peace, but if war is imposed on us, we have the capability to defend ourselves and our vital national interests." Both India and Pakistan boast nuclear arsenals.

North Korea agreed to meet with US-led UN Command representatives to discuss a standoff with South Korea over a disputed area of the Yellow Sea. The move was seen as a positive step in diffusing tensions of a military confrontation over a rich crab-fishing area between the two Koreas. In the latest standoff, seven North Korean warships sailed into what both countries claim as territorial waters. North Korea has continuously challenged the sea border since the late 1970s, sending fishing boats and naval ships into the zone between 20 and 30 times a year. The two countries are officially still at war, as they have never signed a peace agreement following the 1950-53 war.

In the fourth day of renewed hostility in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia reported that it has killed, wounded, or captured over 8,200 rival Eritrean troops. Earlier, Eritrea announced its forces had killed 4,200 Ethiopian soldiers in the latest outbreak of violence over a 600-mile border. Eritrea became independent of Ethiopia in 1993.

Approximately 1,000 members of Algeria's most radical Muslim rebel faction, the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), have reportedly abandoned military action and joined forces with the more moderate Islamic Salvation Army (AIS). Last week, the AIS announced plans to ally with the government in fighting rebel violence. This report follows an Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) announcement that it will follow the AIS in a cease-fire against the government. Over 70,000 people have died since violence broke out in 1992, after officials cancelled an election expected to be won by the FIS.

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