May 21, 2001

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U.S. Secretary of State to release statement on violence in the Middle East

Intensifying violence in the Middle East is prompting a more visible response on the part of the Bush administration after months of behind the scenes diplomacy. Senior administration officials, according to the New York Times, say Secretary of State Colin Powell is planning to present an American proposal as early as Monday, to help bring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under control. Powell is expected to stop short of immediate, full blow intercession and instead is likely to make a formal statement, offering both sides an opportunity for further public diplomacy. The secretary’s statement trails a Palestinian suicide bombing on Friday and retaliatory strikes by Israel using F-16 jets. From Gaza, Raphaël Krafft reports.
Armenian militants sign demilitarization agreement in South of Serbia

In the South of Serbia today, armed Albanian militants signed an agreement committing to a complete demilitarization and disbandment of their force by the end of this month. The agreement was signed in the presence of NATO’s chief official in Yugoslavia. For more than a year, the Albanians have occupied parts of a 58-mile strip of land separating Kosovo from the rest of Serbia. The so-called Ground Safety Zone was established by NATO two years ago, following the end of the bombing of Yugoslavia. Though it was declared a demilitarized zone by the western alliance, Albanian militants have used it as a launching ground for regular attacks on Serb security forces and civilians for more than a year. The signing of the demilitarization agreement comes as Yugoslav forces are preparing to move back into the area and flush the remaining rebels out. From Serbia, Jeremy Scahill has this report.
Tobacco companies eye African markets as anti-tobacco legislation grows in Europe, North America

As Europe and North America intensify the severity of their anti-tobacco legislation and their public’s become increasingly better informed about dangers associated with smoking, tobacco multinationals are more and more looking towards the relatively virgin markets of Africa. From Nairobi, Rupert Cooke reports.
Protests against ‘Star Wars’ missile program kick off in California

On Saturday, a rally and civil disobedience kicked off days of direct action at Vandenberg Air Force Base on the Central California coast. Activists are protesting the proposed missile defense system known as Star Wars, after the Reagan administration’s similar program. Helicopters circled above the rally and scores of police officers lined the streets outside the main gate, while inside Air Force security guards stood by. Ed Rippy has this report.


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