With new US administrator Paul Bremer arriving in Iraq, opposition to the ending of UN economic sanctions appeared to be solidifying. The Security Council is expected to take up a US-sponsored resolution on the issue Tuesday, but senior French, Russian, and German officials warned that debate on it would be lengthy at best, amid demands that the UN assume the central role in rebuilding Iraq. The Bush administration envisions ony an advisory role for the UN.
Secretary of State Powell won only tepid support from Egypt in the latest stop on his mission to promote the road map to peace in the Middle East. Senior officials of the Cairo government refused to drop their recognition of Yasser Arafat as "the leader of the Palestinian people." The US has ruled out any role for Arafat in further moves toward peace with Israel. The Egyptians also scored Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for his reluctance to accept parts of the plan.
Citing a "sinister" US agenda, the communist government of North Korea backed out of its 1992 agreement with South Korea to keep the peninsula nuclear-free. The announcement came as new South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun was in the US for meetings with President Bush and other administration officials on the North's nuclear ambitions. The pact was the last legal obstacle to North Korean development of nuclear weapons. In January, the North withdrew from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
A truck packed with explosives and driven by terrorists blew up inside a Russian government complex in northern Chechnya, killing at least 40 people and wounding 100 more. The attack was the deadliest since a constitutional referendum in March solidified the breakaway region as part of Russia, and the area where it took place had been considered Chechyna's most peaceful.
Dozens of international cease-fire monitors withdrew from Indonesia's volatile Aceh Province, hours before the deadline for separatist rebels to surrender their weapons or face a promised government crackdown. Banda Aceh, the provincial capital, was reported tense, with streets empty and schools closed. The national government wants the rebels to accept autonomy rather than independence, but the latter have resisted calls to hand over their guns without a pullback of government troops first.
Angry transportation workers were to begin a 24-hour nationwide strike in France that would cost the railway system alone $70 million. Air, bus, and subway travel also were to be affected by the walkout over proposed reform of the pension program for state employees. The program is stressed by a growing imbalance between retirees and workers who are still contributing to it. Union leaders say the reforms would unfairly require workers to postpone retirement and supplement their pensions with private investment plans.