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Subject: DNI-NEWS Digest - 30 Mar 1999 to 31 Mar 1999

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There are 14 messages totalling 935 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

1. UAE to Hold Naval War Games in Gulf with US & UK
2. Iran Non-Oil Exports Fall 2 Percent to $3 Billion
3. Iran Urged to End Occupation of Disputed Gulf
4. Paris Tries to Solve Wine Row Blocking Khatami Tri
5. Iran to Send Aid to Kosovo Refugees
6. WRAPUP-World Aid for Kosovo Refugees Begins to Flo
7. Kharrazi, Dini Discuss Kosovo Crisis on Phone
8. Iranian Wrestlers Arrive in Spokane, Washington
9. Russian Defence Ministry Consulting ,,,
10. ANALYSIS-Long Haul Ahead for Iran's Oil Opening
11. ANALYSIS-Oil Market Revives As OPEC Cracks Whip
12. Jewish Community Felicitates Passover Feast
14. PRESS DIGEST - London-based Arab newspapers


Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 00:17:38 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: UAE to Hold Naval War Games in Gulf with US & UK

UAE to Hold Naval War Games in Gulf with U.S., Britain


DUBAI, March 30 (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates plans to
hold naval exercises with U.S. and British forces in the Gulf to
raise its fighting ability, the official WAM news agency
reported on Tuesday.
It said the manoeuvres, code-named Iron Fist 99, would be held
in the next few days but gave no specific date or details.

"This exercise comes within the cooperation and coordination
with friendly forces to raise the fighting ability, bolster
field experience and maintain preparedness for the participating
forces," WAM said.

The UAE has defence cooperation agreements with Britain, the
United States and France.

Tension has increased between the UAE and Iran across the Gulf
in recent months over three strategic islands controlled by Iran
but claimed by both countries.

The UAE earlier this month strongly protested against Iranian
naval exercises near the islands of Abu Musa and the Lesser and
Greater Tunbs, located near shipping lanes close to the mouth of
the Gulf.

The UAE's Gulf Arab allies in the six-member Gulf Cooperation
Council (GCC) also condemned the Iranian manoeuvres as
provocative and urged Tehran to agree to negotiate a peaceful
solution to the dispute.

Iran rejected the GCC condemnation, calling it an intervention
in Iran's internal affairs.

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.


Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 00:17:32 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran Non-Oil Exports Fall 2 Percent to $3 Billion

Iran Non-Oil Exports Fall 2 Percent to $3 Billion in Year


TEHRAN, March 30 (Reuters) - Iran's non-oil exports, stagnant in
the past few years, fell 2 percent to about $3 billion in the
year to March, Iranian television reported on Tuesday.

It said Iran exported $1.6 billion worth of industrial products,
$750 million in agricultural goods, and carpets and handicraft
worth $700 million in the Iranian year that ended on March 20.

The drop in the value of exports came despite a 36 percent rise
in their total weight, the state television added, without
giving a breakdown.

Iran, badly hit by a slump in oil prices, has had little success
in boosting non-oil exports despite moves to relax tough foreign
exchange controls and restrictive state regulations.

Iran, the world's third-largest oil exporter and a member of the
Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, relies on
petrodollars for about 80 percent of its hard cash revenues.

Iran's customs head Mehdi Karbasian told Iranian television the
decline in non-oil exports was due to problems in importing raw
materials because of hard currency shortages, as well as to the
low quality of some exports.

He also said Iran needed to cut red tape hampering exports.

Officials have said that exporters have to deal with as many as
30 state bodies.

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.


Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 00:17:44 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran Urged to End Occupation of Disputed Gulf

Iran Urged to End Occupation of Disputed Gulf



CAIRO (March 30) XINHUA - Arab League Secretary General Esmat
Abdel-Meguid Tuesday called on Iran to "end occupation" of three
disputed islands in the Gulf.

Meguid made the call when he spoke to reporters about the
dispute between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iran over the
sovereignty of the islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu

He urged the Iranian government to halt further establishment of
any facilities on the islands and demolish the installations
already set up.

The chief of the 22-nation pan-Arab forum reasserted support for
UAE's claim of sovereignty over the three islands near the
strategic Strait of Hormuz.
He called on the two countries to resort to peaceful means to
end the dispute on the basis international laws.

Both the UAE and Iran claim ownership of the three islands, on
which Iran deployed troops and civil workers in 1971 when
Britain pulled back from them. The two countries have expressed
readiness to solve the dispute through peaceful means.

The UAE has proposed to solve the problem through international
arbitration while Iran prefer bilateral negotiations.


Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 00:17:50 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Paris Tries to Solve Wine Row Blocking Khatami Tri

Paris Tries to Solve Wine Row Blocking Khatami Trip

10:14 a.m. Mar 30, 1999 Eastern
PARIS, March 30 (Reuters) - France on Tuesday renewed an
invitation to Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to visit Paris
which has been snubbed by Tehran because wine would be served at
a state banquet.

``The visit is not dead in the water...The invitation is
confirmed,'' Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne Gazeau-Secret
told reporters.

She said French diplomats were working to solve differences on
protocol which she declined to specify. Khatami's visit had been
planned next month although France had been careful not to
announce a date.

Official sources confirmed Khatami put off the visit because
France rejected Iran's demands for no wine bottles on the table.
Non-alcoholic drinks were also to be served at the banquet.

Italy had agreed to a similar demand when Khatami visited Rome
two weeks ago on the first visit to the West by an Iranian
president since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The sources, who asked not to be identified, said France, where
wine is an important part of the national culture, was not
prepared to bow to Iran's demand.

They said yielding could open a Pandora's box of demands,
possibly including requests that women wear Islamic veils at
receptions for leaders of Moslem countries.

((Paris newsroom +33 1 4221 5339, fax +33 1 4236 1072,

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.


Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 00:18:30 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iran to Send Aid to Kosovo Refugees

Iran to Send Aid to Kosovo Refugees

TEHRAN, March 30 (Reuters) - Iran said on Tuesday it would send
food and medicine to help tens of thousands of ethnic Albanian
refugees fleeing the conflict in Kosovo.

Iran's Foreign Ministry said the aid, also including clothes and
tents, would be sent to Albania and Macedonia at the request of
the two countries which host many of the refugees.

A ministry statement, quoted by Iran's news agency IRNA, did not
give the quantity of relief supplies to be sent.

Iran, which currently heads the 55-member Organisation of the
Islamic Conference, on Friday protested to Yugoslavia over the
reported killings of ethnic Albanian Moslems in Kosovo.

Tehran earlier criticised NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia,
saying military action would only worsen the crisis.

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.


Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 00:18:26 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: WRAPUP-World Aid for Kosovo Refugees Begins to Flo

WRAPUP-World Aid for Kosovo Refugees Begins to Flow

02:07 p.m Mar 30, 1999 Eastern
LONDON, March 30 (Reuters) - A worldwide humanitarian aid effort
was under way on Tuesday to cast a lifeline to ethnic Albanian
civilians fleeing what NATO calls a ``Great Terror'' in Kosovo.

The U.N. refugee agency calculated that as many as a quarter of
the province's population of two million could now be displaced,
putting a huge political and economic burden on poor, unstable
Balkan neighbours.

Nations from the Pacific rim to the Middle East pledged aid.

France took the lead in pushing for a rapid European response to
the refugee crisis, which has worsened dramatically since the
start of NATO bombing raids on Yugoslavia last week.

``The European Union should urgently convene a humanitarian
conference to define the European response and offer aid
including money and equipment to the countries welcoming the
refugees,'' Prime Minister Lionel Jospin told parliament.

Emma Bonino, the EU humanitarian aid commissioner, was to go to
Albania and Macedonia on Wednesday to assess refugee needs.

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR called the refugee tragedy the
result of ``ethnic cleansing,'' the first time the agency has
used such a strong term.

``We do believe that there is a campaign of ethnic cleansing,
quite well organised, with people being pushed out of their
homes, and the border being simultaneously opened so they can
leave,'' spokesman Kris Janowski told a news briefing in Geneva.

UNHCR said 90,000 people had escaped from Kosovo in the last
week. NATO puts the refugee tally at 118,000.

UNHCR said 460,000 people had been displaced -- either to other
locations within Kosovo or to neighbouring countries -- between
the start of the Kosovo conflict in March last year and the
launch of NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia last week.
Albania, Europe's poorest nation, which has opened its borders
to 70,000 of its kinfolk from Kosovo. President Rexhep Meidani
called on rich European neighbours to help financially and also
to accept some of refugees now in Albania.

``I appeal to all international organisations and to the
international community to help these refugees who are living
under the most dangerous conditions. It is important now to save
them,'' told Reuters in an interview.

At Kosovo's border with Macedonia -- a poor, landlocked
neighbour of Kosovo with a shaky ethnic balance -- long lines of
cars packed with men, women and children from Kosovo waited at
the town of Blace, where officials had effectively closed the

``The flow has slowed to almost nothing,'' said Frank Gutmann, a
doctor with aid group International Medical Corp. ``The

Many of the refugees told harrowing tales of violence in Kosovo
and a long, difficult escape.

``I slept in a truck along with dozens of other people,'' said
Sabila Joshira, with two children, who fled from near the
southern Kosovo town of Prizren. ``Every night we heard
shooting, explosions and bombs. It was awful.''

Germany said it would fly out around 20 tonnes of food and
medical supplies on air force transport planes to help Macedonia
cope with the influx and Britain provided an Ilyushin transport
plane to airlift tents and blankets to Albania.

The European Union was expected to clear a further 10 million
euros ($11 million) worth of humanitarian aid for countries
neighbouring Kosovo, EU sources said.

The UNHCR asked for further contributions to an earlier appeal
for activities in the former Yugoslavia and had received an $8.5
million pledge from the United States over the weekend.

In a gesture of Moslem solidarity, Iran pledged food, medicine,
clothes and tents to help the refugees in Albania and Macedonia.

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.


Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 00:18:44 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Kharrazi, Dini Discuss Kosovo Crisis on Phone

Kharrazi, Dini Discuss Kosovo Crisis on Phone

thr 001
kharrazi, dini discuss kosovo crisis on phone
tehran, march 31, irna -- foreign minister of the islamic republic of
iran kamal kharrazi and his italian counterpart lamberto dini in a
telephone conversation here tuesday exchanged views on the latest
development in kosovo.
the italian foreign minister in his talks expressed concern over
the ongoing ethnic cleansing, massacre of the ethnic albanian muslims
and displacement of thousands of the kosovars due to the ever
expanding nato military operation, which has not been able to stop
this human catasrophy.
kharrazi on his part said that "the islamic republic of iran and
the rest of muslim nations are deeply concern over the onslaught of
the ethnic cleansing of the muslim kosovars.
the iranian foreign minister went on to say that the islamic
republic of iran as the chairman of the organization of islamic
conference (oic) will continue pursuing its diplomacy in trying to
resolve the crisis.
::irna 31/03/99 00:43


Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 00:18:12 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Iranian Wrestlers Arrive in Spokane, Washington

Iranian Wrestlers Arrive in Spokane, Washington

thr 020
wrestling-contest ing-contest

iranian wrestlers arrive in spokane, washington
spokane, march 31, irna -- iran's free style wrestling team arrived

here tuesday night to attend the world cup wrestling championship
in the united states.
the iranian wrestlers, who arrived in chicago on sunday, were
warmly received by iranians residing in western america.
upon arrival, the iranian wrestlers faced a minor problem
caused by representatives of the u.s. immigration department at
the airport but it was settled through intervention of officials
accompanying the iranian wrestlers and senior officials with
the u.s. immigration department.
the 11 iranian wrestlers will compete with the teams from five
the competitions will be held in the stadium of the city of
spokane in washington state on april 3-4.
iran, russia, the us, germany, canada and cuba will participate
in the championship.
::irna 31/03/99 15:05


Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 00:18:38 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Russian Defence Ministry Consulting ,,,

Russian Defence Ministry Consulting China, India, and Iran


MOSCOW, March 31 (Itar-Tass) - In light of the Yugoslavian
crisis, the Russian Defence Ministry is holding active
consultations with officials of the military establishments of
China, India, and Iran. An official of the Defence Ministry told
Itar-Tass that "the consultations are chiefly devoted to the
situation in Yugoslavia, which has deteriorated due to the NATO

Chief of the International Military Cooperation Department of
the Russian Defence Ministry Leonid Ivashov told a press
conference, which was held at the Press Centre of the Russian
Foreign Ministry on March 29, that Defence Minister Igor
Sergeyev would hold consultations from April 14-15 with his
Chinese counterpart and with several CIS defence ministers.

Ivashov said that it was agreed to look into some problems
linked with America's attempts to withdraw from the 1972 ABM
treaty, to set up an anti-missile defence system in the East,
near the borders of China and the Russian Federation. The
Russian and Chinese defence ministers will discuss bilateral
relations, fulfilment of the agreements on trust-building
measures and reduction of armed forces in the border areas, will
map out ways to further promote trust-building efforts and to
expand bilateral cooperation.

Speaking about the upcoming meetings with the defence ministers
of several CIS countries, Ivashov noted that "they will
definitely focus on the situation in Kosovo".

Stressing the importance of all these negotiations, Ivashov drew
attention to the fact that their participants represent a large
part of the world community, larger than that of NATO, "which
has usurped the right to speak on behalf of the entire world


Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 00:19:02 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: ANALYSIS-Long Haul Ahead for Iran's Oil Opening

ANALYSIS-Long Haul Ahead for Iran's Oil Opening
08:00 a.m. Mar 31, 1999 Eastern
By Michael Georgy

DUBAI, March 31 (Reuters) - Iran's biggest oil opening to
foreign investors in 20 years is caught in a web of price
uncertainty, threatened U.S. sanctions and paralysis in
decision-making, analysts say.

``The Iranians are under pressure from all sides. Nobody wants
to decide what to do,'' said an Iranian oil analyst. ``The
selection procedure has slowed this (opening) down considerably
at a time when U.S. sanctions are keeping out the bulk of the

Iran, holding the world's second largest gas and fifth-largest
oil reserves, tantalised foreign energy firms with a big oil and
gas auction in July last year.
As a result of a similar auction in 1995, Iran clinched a $2
billion deal with a consortium led by France's Total SA to
develop the huge South Pars natural gas field.

But the investment frenzy unleashed by Iran's largest energy
offering since the 1979 Islamic revolution is being tempered by
some grim realities.

There is a shortage of seasoned negotiators at the National
Iranian Oil Company struggling to process proposals for 40
projects worth billions of dollars, analysts said.
And potential investors must accept that completion of proposed
deals needs the approval of everyone from NIOC engineers to the
political establishment, analysts say.

Moreover, cash-strapped Iran is working feverishly to process
bids at a time when some international oil companies chasing
Iranian ventures are busy swallowing each other.
That means Tehran needs to make sure its buy-back contracts,
which repay investment with production from the field being
developed, remain enticing for any new giant firms created by
the global industry's restructuring.

``The question is where these buy-backs fit in with (corporate)
priorities,'' said Dennis O'Brien of the University of Oklahoma.

The tardy state of negotiations was highlighted recently when
Britain's Premier Oil said a last minute hitch over contract
terms had jeopardised its involvement in a proposed $200 million
development of Iran's Balal field.

Further evidence of a slowdown comes from the calendar.
Deputy oil minister Mehdi Husseini said last year he hoped to
conclude one or two deals from the latest round of buy-back
offerings before the Iranian new year in March 1999. That
deadline has come and gone with no announced agreements.

France's Elf Aquitaine and Italy's ENI recently signed a
contract to develop Iran's offshore Doroud oil and gas field --
underscoring how hopes that big upstream profits can overpower
fears of U.S. sanctions.

However, that deal was originally offered in a previous tender
in 1995, indicating the lengthy wait potentially in store for
deals offered in the latest round.

Manouchehr Takin, petroleum analyst at the Centre for Global
Energy Studies, said foreign firms continued to see Iran as a
top priority despite the tedium involved.

But he added: ``You can't negotiate several billions of dollars
so quickly with this sheer volume of projects.''

Sanctions remain an issue. Iran is resisting U.S. attempts to
isolate it through the 1996 Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, which
threatens reprisals against foreign firms that invest more than
$20 million a year in the country's energy sector.

The U.S. government in 1995 imposed bilaterial restrictions
prohibiting its companies from doing business in Iran.

``There is resistance from some companies which are dragging
their feet because of concerns over their assets in the United
States,'' said Takin. ``And they also have financial analysts
looking over their shoulders (at a time of low oil prices).''

A 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) production cut deal sealed
by OPEC and and non-cartel oil producers last week has pushed up
petroleum prices. That could be a mixed blessing for Tehran if
the oil industry recovers worldwide and offers competing
opportunities away from the Gulf.

``Now you have the perverse situation that as prices go up and
money becomes available, companies can start to look
elsewhere,'' the Iranian analyst said.

Vahan Zanoyan, chief executive of consulting firm Petroleum
Finance Co., said oil companies were bracing for the long haul.

``Oil companies are used to this,'' he said. ``They have gained
experience negotiating with state oil firms (in the region) --
they have had a lot of ulcers over the years.''

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.


Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 00:19:18 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: ANALYSIS-Oil Market Revives As OPEC Cracks Whip

ANALYSIS-Oil Market Revives As OPEC Cracks Whip

06:48 a.m. Mar 31, 1999 Eastern
By William Maclean

LONDON, March 31 (Reuters) - Long seen as past its prime, OPEC
on the brink of 40 is enjoying unaccustomed vigour.

Revived by a hefty injection of political will, the producer
club born in 1960 has a precocious spring in its step as prices
perk up in response to tough OPEC output cuts.

``Put it down to political direction from the top, and
leadership by the Saudis,'' said Peter Gignoux of Salomon Smith

Steered by heads of some member governments, the cartel has
buried months of bickering and agreed an aggressive seven
percent supply cut to end the worst price slump in decades.

``This is a very impressive agreement,'' said Sarah Emerson,
managing director of petroleum services at U.S. consulting firm
Energy Security Analysis.

``It will be even more impressive if it's implemented. And OPEC
only has to come close to compliance to be looking at a
significantly higher oil price.''

Markets have not waited for the April 1 start date for the cuts,
placing unusual faith in the ability of the Organisation of the
Petroleum Exporting Countries to solve differences and choke
flows in its third such attempt in 12 months to hike revenues.
Prices surged by a third before even one barrel of physical
supply was removed.

``You have to accept that the market has voted for OPEC
compliance and has voted for higher prices,'' says Gignoux.

``When all the chips are down, OPEC comes good,'' said
independent analyst Geoff Pyne.

The exuberant mood is entirely rational.

A big difference between the latest rescue attempt and last
year's ineffective cuts is that supply and demand factors are
stable in contrast to the Asian-inspired deterioration of 1998.

A new government in Venezuela has raised hopes that Caracas's
long-ragged compliance with quotas might improve.

And crucially, OPEC has maintained an alliance with non-member
producer Mexico, a key participant in cuts because of its role
as a big supplier to the giant U.S. market.

But above all, the pain of 18 months of dangerously low revenues
has stiffened the will of Gulf OPEC heavyweights to comply with
pledged cuts for at least the next several months.

``The message coming from the top in Saudi was clear. They
wanted revenue from higher prices, not market share from low
prices,'' said the head of trading at a European major.

The proof was the willignness of OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia to
cut its output below eight million bpd, a level long regarded by
market watchers as sacrosanct for Riyadh.

Its abandonment of the volume it enjoyed for much of the 1990s
was a clear signal of the pain inflicted on Riyadh.

So was Riyadh's willingness to swallow a bitter pill and allow
rival Iran to cut supply from a higher level than had earlier
been agreed.

President Khatami and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, with help
from Algerian OPEC President Youcef Yousfi, worked hard on their
respective oil ministries to get a deal agreed.

Despite their victory, there is none of the triumphalism of the
old OPEC that nationalised Western participation and held the
world to ransom in the 1973 Arab oil embargo.

Born of a bygone era of Third World resource nationalism, the
group has long been weakened by the emergence of non-OPEC supply
and the growth of futures markets that set the price.

But relief is palpable among OPEC delegates who had watched
helplessly as the latest price slump cost their countries tens
of billions of dollars of revenue.

How long compliance lasts is another matter.

The agreement is for one year, but Petroleum Finance says Saudi
Arabia's switch from a market share policy to a price defence
policy is temporary.

Emerson contends that that the kingdom sees the accord as a
stopgap measure, aware that sharply higher prices will revive
non-OPEC output which will in time again pressure markets.

And the industry's self-regulatory economics mean the faster the
price rose the more likely the pact will be broken as smaller
producers leap on the bandwagon of high revenues.

``OPEC has to be careful not to push prices up too high too
fast, otherwise the market will force it back,'' said Pyne.

``You can steer the market, but you cannot control it.''
For now, OPEC is enjoying the ride. And there is a way to go,
for despite the rally the average first quarter price for Brent
is still $2 lower than for the same period last year.

``From OPEC's point of view, the best is yet to come,'' said

((London newsroom tel +44 171 542 7646 fax +44 171 542 4453

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.


Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 00:19:52 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: Jewish Community Felicitates Passover Feast

Jewish Community Felicitates Passover Feast

thr 017
jewish community felicitates passover feast
tehran, march 31, irna -- the jewish community of tehran, in a
message issued here wednesday, felicitated the advent of passover
feasts to the jewish minority living in iran.
wishing success for the leader of the islamic revolution
ayatollah seyed ali khamenei, president mohammad khatami and the
iranian nation in the new iranian year, the jewish community renewed
its ancient and close ties with all iranian people.
the iranian jews, along with other compatriots, will make efforts
to settle the existing problems and to construct a free, developed and
independent country, the message added.
the two-day passover celebrations start today.
::irna 31/03/99 12:53


Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 00:19:40 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>


Compiled from news services
Tuesday, March 30, 1999; Page A14


Pinochet Can Appeal Extradition

LONDON -- Former Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet may appeal a
decision allowing Spain to attempt to extradite him, Britain's
high court ruled yesterday.

The three-judge panel also delayed the appeal hearing until
after April 15 to give Home Secretary Jack Straw time to
reconsider his decision allowing the extradition request to go
forward. In the meantime, Pinochet must remain in custody, the
judges ruled.

Mandela Offers Support to Belfast

BELFAST -- South African President Nelson Mandela telephoned two
key participants in Northern Ireland's peace process to offer
his support during a crucial week of talks to revive the
faltering initiative, officials said.

Mandela spoke briefly with Protestant leader David Trimble, who
is the British-ruled province's first minister, and Seamus
Mallon, a Roman Catholic Irish nationalist who is deputy first

Khatemi Cancels Paris Visit

PARIS -- Iranian President Mohammed Khatemi has scrapped plans
for an April visit to Paris because France would have served
wine at a state banquet, French diplomatic sources said.
Khatemi's office announced that the visit, only the second to
the West by an Iranian president since the 1979 Islamic
revolution, was postoned "as no agreement has been reached with
French authorities on respecting Islamic and national norms."

French diplomatic sources said Iran, which strictly bans
alcohol, had demanded that no wine be served at a state banquet
at President Jacques Chirac's Elysee Palace -- a tall request
for a country that considers itself the world capital of wine.


Muslims End Holy Rites in Mecca, Mina

MINA, Saudi Arabia -- Urged on by nervous Saudi police, waves of
faithful Muslims tossed pebbles at three pillars symbolizing the
devil, completing their final rituals in Islam's sacred journey,
the hajj.

When the crowd of hundreds of thousands finally thinned, Saudi
security forces were clearly relieved. Last year, 180 people
died during a stampede near the pillars at Mina where pilgrims
cast pebbles -- symbolically rejecting Satan's temptations. A
Saudi security official, speaking on customary condition of
anonymity, credited solid planning and cooperation from pilgrims
for keeping incidents down to "the occasional fainting."

Israeli Unions End Four-Day Strike

JERUSALEM -- Israeli unions ended a four-day strike that
disrupted travel and shut down wide swaths of the public sector
after reaching an agreement for a 4.8 percent pay rise with the
treasury, officials said.


Carter Begins Visit to Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Two decades after severing diplomatic ties
with Taiwan so the United States could recognize China, former
president Jimmy Carter began a historic visit Monday to the
island that once called him a traitor.

Two opposition politicians demanded that Carter apologize to
Taiwan for breaking ties and setting the island adrift
diplomatically. Carter made no immediate public comments upon

Burmese Activist Will Not Attend Funeral

BANGKOK -- Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will not
go to England for the funeral of her husband, Michael Aris,
despite a government offer to allow her to return to Burma, a
confidant said. Suu Kyi feared she may not be allowed to return
and has already begun performing Buddhist rites for her late
husband in Rangoon, said Tin Oo, vice president of her National
League for Democracy party.


Release of Rwandan Draws Protests

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania -- A former Rwandan army officer accused
of murdering 10 Belgian peacekeepers during Rwanda's 1994
genocide was set free by a U.N. court in Tanzania, bringing
immediate protests from both Belgium and Rwanda.

Bernard Ntuyahaga was ordered released this month after
prosecutors at the U.N. court dropped all charges against him in
the belief that they could then hand him over to Belgian
authorities. But the plan backfired when judges at the
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, based in the
northern Tanzanian town of Arusha, immediately ordered his

Hutus Executed for Uganda Tourist Murders

KAMPALA, Uganda -- Uganda's army has killed another 18 of the
Rwandan Hutu rebels who killed eight foreign tourists this
month, officials said.

Uganda's minister of state for defense, Steven Kavuma, said 18
rebels were killed and four were captured in a clash just over
the border in neighboring Congo.

He said they were part of the group of around 150 rebels that
abducted 31 foreign tourists in the Bwindi National Park of
southwestern Uganda on March 1 and murdered eight of them --
four Britons, two Americans and two New Zealanders.

Villagers Flee Volcano in Cameroon

YAOUNDE, Cameroon -- Villagers fled their homes in this central
African nation after a volcanic eruption caused violent quakes
and sent fiery lava streaming down the rocky slopes of Mount
Cameroon, state radio reported. No casualties were immediately
reported, and the scope of the damage was unclear.


BRATISLAVA, Slovakia -- Ten men machine-gunned to death in a
Slovak restaurant last Thursday were underworld criminals killed
in a gang war, Interior Minister Ladislav Pittner said.

JERUSALEM -- An Israeli army reserve major, who said he suffers
flashbacks from his service in a reputed "hit squad," was found
guilty on Monday of the 1997 desert murder of a British tourist.
A court in Beersheba, southern Israel, convicted Daniel Okev of
shooting Jeffrey Max Hunter dead and wounding Hunter's
girlfriend, Charlotte Gibb, a court spokesman said.


"We want to be free. That's all we ask for."

Xhemali Bytyci, a refugee forced-marched by Yugoslav troops from
Kosovo to the Albanian border

Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company


Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1999 00:19:48 EDT
From: Bobby Iri <Bobby@WWW.DCI.CO.IR>
Subject: PRESS DIGEST - London-based Arab newspapers

PRESS DIGEST - London-based Arab newspapers - March 31

02:33 a.m. Mar 31, 1999 Eastern
LONDON, March 31 (Reuters) - These are some of the leading
stories in two London-based Arabic-language newspapers on
Wednesday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not
vouch for their accuracy.


- Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal ends a visit to
Russia during which Saudi Arabia and Russia reached an agreement
to fight terrorism.

- A Lebanese officer and three soldiers have been wounded in an
Israeli air raid on south Lebanon.

- A free trade zone in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates is
expected to generate income of $170 billion over 25 years.

- Egypt has embarked on a plan to modernise its industry and
increase industrial development by 12 percent a year, the
industry minister says.


- An Iraqi armed group, calling itself ``Iraq's Secret Army,''
says it is working to remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from

- A proposed visit by Iran's President Khatami to Saudi Arabia
will focus on bilateral and regional cooperation.

- Oil prices reach around $15 per barrel following an OPEC
agreement to cut production by 2.1 million barrels per day.

- Saudi Arabia's commerce minister is due to visit Japan to
mobilise support for the kingdom's bid to join the World Trade

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.


End of DNI-NEWS Digest - 30 Mar 1999 to 31 Mar 1999