Because of their "new and fascinating" proposal to end Middle East violence, senior Saudi officials were invited to Israel to present the initiative for consideration. It would trade formal Arab recognition of the 54-year-old Jewish state for an Israeli withdrawal from the territory captured in the 1967 war. Some Arab states have indicated support for the plan, but reports said Prime Minister Ariel Sharon still attached significance to the fact that the Saudis had yet to announce it publicly. (Related opinion, page 11.)

The confessed plotter of Daniel Pearl's kidnapping was ordered held in police custody in Pakistan for 14 more days because investigators "have to recover the dead body and further evidence." Ahmed Omar Saeed told the court in Karachi he did not wish to make another statement in the case and complained of being pressured to sign a blank paper, his lawyer said. Meanwhile, it was unclear whether the Bush administration would seek the handover of suspects in the case so they could be tried in the US. Above, the hooded Saeed is escorted from jail for his court appearance. (Related story, page 8.)

If he should lose next month's national election, hard-line Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has arranged with his opponent for safe passage into exile, The Times (London) reported. Citing a diplomatic source, the newspaper said the deal with challenger Morgan Tsvangirai was brokered by Nigerian leader Olusegun Obasanjo. But in Harare, the capital, Tsvangirai was charged with treason on allegations that he plotted the assassination of Mugabe. Meanwhile, South African observers sent to monitor the March 9-10 voting said they feared for their safety after being stoned by Mugabe supporters Sunday.

The political party of Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was reeling after finishing no better than second in all four states where elections were completed last weekend. Most damaging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was its defeat in politically influential Uttar Pradesh, the state with the largest Muslim population, in a campaign based on anti-Pakistan and counterterrorism themes. The losses leave the BJP in control of only four of India's 28 state governments.

Amid hopes that the death of rebel leader Jonas Savimbi could bring an end to the civil war in Angola, President José Eduardo dos Santos said he wanted to negotiate a cease-fire with the UNITA movement. But aides said "military pressure" against the rebels would continue - to show them that "their battle makes no sense." A UNITA representative, however, said the rebels would not hand over their weapons but would stop fighting "if there's a unilateral cease-fire."

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