February 21st, 2008 11:38 EST
World Chronicle: February 21
N'DJAMENA, Chad. Pressed by the European Union, Chadian authorities are seeking a dialog with the rebels who threatened the capital city two weeks ago and almost toppled the government. But as the Reuters news agency reports on Thursday, the insurgents have refused to engage in peace talks with President Debby, claiming it would undermine their efforts to free the country from the incumbent regime. Meanwhile, the European Union continues deploying its peacekeepers, who are to protect Sudanese refugees, to Chad.
CARACAS, Venezuela. President Hugo Chavez's efforts to free Columbian hostages may finally bear fruits as the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia are expected to release some high-profile politicians whom they abducted six years ago. The decision was announced by the French foreign minister who was visiting President Chavez on Wednesday. Among the kidnapped are former senator Luis Eladio Perez and ex-congressman Orlando Beltran.
TOKYO, Japan. The United States remains optimistic about North Korea's nuclear disarmament despite the recent difficulties in the dialog with Pyongyang. U.S. Special Envoy Christopher Hill said during his Thursday press conference in Japan that he believed all obstacles would be overcome and both countries would meet their previous agreements. North Korea was expected to provide all the details about its nuclear program by the end of last year; however, Washington insists the documentation it received lacked some important information. At the same conference, Hill rejected the suggestions that either he or U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would pay a visit to Pyongyang next Tuesday.
BELGRADE, Serbia. Schools were closed together with most of municipal offices on Thursday so people could attend a rally against the independence of Kosovo. It is approximated that as many as 200,000 people marched through the streets of Belgrade with Serbian flags and banners reading “Kosovo is Serbia” and “Stop USA terror.” Although the protest was to be “spontaneous,” both the government and national media had said that attending the rally was the people's patriotic duty.
BELGRADE, Serbia. The American embassy in Belgrade was attacked by an angry mob on Thursday evening during an anti-Kosovo rally organized by the government. Some of the protesters managed to get into the embassy and set fire to several of its rooms, as well as break windows and damage the furniture. Also damaged was the embassy of Croatia, located nearby. Shortly after the incidents the police dispersed the vandals who later continued in the march.
TEHRAN, Iran. Iran demands the United Nations condemn Israel for its combative foreign policy. In a letter signed by the Iranian ambassador to the U.N., the Jewish state is portrayed as a possible aggressor as it has warned that it will not refrain from attacking Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons. The ambassador also insisted that Tehran's nuclear project had only peaceful goals such as the building of a nuclear power plant. Israel played down the letter, saying Iran was a notorious sponsor of terrorism and should be treated as such.
WASHINGTON, DC. U.S. President George W. Bush called his Pakistani counterpart shortly after an early analysis of the February 17 parliamentary elections showed a crushing defeat of the pro-American camp. Nevertheless, Bush said the elections were an important step on Pakistan's road to democracy and a big win over terror. He also expressed hopes that the new government would be friendly to the United States.
WASHINGTON, DC. Barack Obama has avid admirers not only in the United States but also all over the world. In a unique chance to have a say in the Democratic Party nomination process, Americans living abroad could cast their votes for candidates through the Internet, regardless of where their computers were at that moment. After an online one-week election in 164 countries, it turned out that the Illinois senator won by a landslide among American emigrants, garnering around 65 percent of the vote. Hillary Clinton came in second with 35 percent.