Newsletter : 0fax0619.txt
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>JN June 18, 2000, Vol. 8, No. 104
Arab Car Thieves Return Stolen Police Car
The Sharon regional weekly "Sharon Times" reports the car of Danny
Hadad, deputy commander of the Israel Police in the Sharon region,
was stolen from his home. Haddad had borrowed the car, to use on
his vacation, from the Sharon region's special car theft
investigation team. The team asked their sources among the car
thieves to find the car and it was located in a garage in PA
controlled Tul Karem. The thieves first wanted to be paid for the
car but in the end agreed to return it. One of the thieves drove it
over to the investigators with the assistance of the PLO Authority
United Nations Affirms Israel's Lebanese Withdrawal
By Larry Freund (VOA-New York)
The United Nations Security Council (Sunday) formally endorsed UN
Secretary-General Kofi Annan's finding that Israel has withdrawn
its forces from southern Lebanon. The council's endorsement
lengthy closed door talks during which the council added a phrase
to its statement indicating concern about reports of serious
violations of the pullout since Friday.
The Security Council's talks - lasting much of Saturday and Sunday
- reflected continued disagreement about the Israeli pullout from
On Friday, Annan proclaimed a day of hope for the region when he
said Israel had completely withdrawn from Lebanese territory. But
Lebanese officials disputed Annan's announcement, saying Lebanon
insists on recovering every inch of its territory.
For two days Russian representatives in New York blocked any quick
action by the Security Council. After the private talks concluded
Sunday, the Council released a statement reflecting the agreement
of all 15 members, including Russia. The carefully-worded document
endorses work done by the United Nations, including the
Secretary-General's conclusion that Israel has withdrawn its forces
from Lebanon. But it notes with serious concern reports of
violations that have occurred since June 16, when Annan made his
critical announcement at UN headquarters. The council calls on the
parties to respect the line identified by the United Nations.
Annan, now in the Middle East, says there are problems concerning
the demarcation of the border between Israel and Lebanon. However,
he says both sides have agreed on the importance of finding a
Search for Syria's New President Leading to Bashar Assad
By Lisa Bryant (VOA-Cairo)
Syria's ruling Baath party has opened its first party congress in
15 years amid expectations that it will elect Bashar Assad as its
leader and formally declare his candidacy as the country's next
president. The meeting marks the latest step to bring the son of
the late Syrian president, Hafez al-Assad, to power.
There were few surprises at the start of the ninth Baath Party
congress, which is being held in Syria's capital, Damascus. The
party's assistant secretary general, Suleiman Quaddah, opened the
meeting with a speech praising Bashar Assad's leadership
Quaddah then eulogized Assad's father, calling the late president
an Arab national leader. In successive opening-day speeches,
delegates echoed Quaddah's praise for the two Assads.
The party conference is anticipated to last several days and
includes hundreds of Baath Party delegates. During that time, Assad
-- a trained eye doctor with little political experience -- is
expected to be elected head of a 21-member party leadership
committee, and as the party's leader. Those would mark Assad's
first formal positions in the Baath party.
If the party nominates Assad as Syria's next president -- as is
widely anticipated -- parliament would likely endorse the
nomination when it meets June 25. A public referendum on his
candidacy is expected after the 40-day mourning period for
President Assad, who died last week.
Party delegates are also expected to nominate a number of new,
younger faces to the aging leadership structure, and to introduce
a series of economic and political reforms. Some of the reforms
are already underway, including efforts to boost exports and
foreign investment in Syria.
The younger Assad is considered a leader behind a newly launched
anti-corruption crackdown, which has targeted a number of senior
Syrian officials. The party conference caps a week marked by public
mourning over President Assad's passing, and private maneuvering to
bring his son to power.
Hours after the president's death, parliament lowered the
constitutional age for the presidency to fit the younger Assad's
(34-years) age. The following day, Syria's vice president promoted
Assad to commander in chief of the armed forces.
If Assad is elected president, Syria would become the first Arab
republic in modern times to endorse the passing of presidential
power from father to son.
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