January 17, 1996
Web posted at: 12:45 a.m. EST (0545 GMT)
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The United Nations said it received a letter from Iraq late Tuesday apparently signaling Baghdad's willingness to begin talks on a limited oil sales deal, but Iraq's oil ministry in Baghdad stridently denied the letter and said the country had "no intention of making any concessions."
U.N. diplomats here said Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, Nizar Hamdoon, told non-aligned ambassadors that Iraq might be prepared to re-enter negotiations on the implementation of resolution 986.
The resolution would allow Iraq to sell $2 billion worth of oil in exchange for food and medicine, which have been in short supply after the Security Council imposed stiff economic sanctions on Iraq when it invaded Kuwait in 1990.
But Iraqi officials told CNN that Baghdad was not interested in a limited oil sales deal.
During earlier negotiations, Iraq held that the resolution, which requires heavy U.N. monitoring of oil sales, violates its sovereignty.
Meanwhile, the council was thinking of sending a fact-finding team to Iraq to investigate the humanitarian situation. But Iraq has not said it will accept such a mission.
NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- As the world's biggest democracy prepares for general elections in April, India's federal police Tuesday linked seven political leaders -- including three sitting cabinet ministers and the leader of the main opposition party -- to an $18 million bribery scandal.
The Central Bureau of Investigation said it had sought presidential permission, as required by Indian law, to file formal charges against the three cabinet ministers in Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao's government.
The agency has already filed charges against the other politicians named in the scandal, including the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), L.K. Advani, who quickly resigned his parliamentary seat. Advani said the allegations were designed to harm his party's chances in the coming elections.
The charges are the result of a public interest litigation filed by a journalist alleging illegal payment of foreign funds to public servants from 1988 to 1991.
The police have also examined a diary seized from a foreign exchange dealer listing politicians who allegedly received payments.
Some 115 politicians, including six former cabinet ministers and civil servants,have been named in the petition involving alleged bribes worth some 650 million rupees ($18 million).
MOSCOW (CNN) -- In a move seen as yet another indication of Russia's shift to conservatism, the longest-serving reformer in its government quit Tuesday, saying President Boris Yeltsin was unhappy with his performance.
Anatoly Chubais was relieved by Yeltsin in an unusually critical statement saying Chubais had failed to carry out presidential orders.
As Russia's first deputy prime minister, Chubais led the world's biggest privatization campaign. His policies helped put Russia on the path to a Western-style market economy.
Yeltsin's chief economic aide, Alexander Livshits, told a news conference that Chubais was blamed for delays in government wage payments that often lasted several months.
Chubais is the latest casualty of a major reshuffle in Yeltsin's cabinet prompted by month's parliamentary elections, which brought significant gains for communists and nationalists.
Yeltsin, who has yet to say whether he will seek re-election, has promised to improve living standards this year, but has said the broad thrust of reforms will not change.
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Slain Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's confessed assassin, Yigal Amir, said he didn't mean to kill Rabin, but only wanted to injure him.
Amir told a state commission investigating Rabin's death that he aimed for the prime minister's spine, not his head. The testimony given on December 25 was made public Tuesday.
The 25-year-old ultra-orthodox Jew shot Rabin twice at close range at a November 4 peace rally in Tel Aviv. Rabin died almost instantly.
Amir's testimony to the commission contradicts statements police said Amir made earlier. According to transcripts of a police interrogation, Amir said he had planned to kill Rabin for several years.
Amir's murder trial will begin January 23 in Tel Aviv.
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Palestinian gunmen shot two Israelis near the West Bank city of Hebron on Tuesday, suffusing the area with tension just four days before the Palestinian elections.
The army declined to comment on whether they were alive or their condition, and closed off the area in a search for the gunmen.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the militant Hamas group had vowed to avenge the killing of Israel's most wanted Palestinian bombmaker, Yehya Ayyash. He was killed 11 days ago.
On Monday, an Israeli was shot and wounded in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, which is under Palestinian self-rule. Palestinian police said Tuesday they had arrested three people in connection with the Bethlehem shooting.
Israel handed Bethlehem over to the Palestinians December 21 under the terms of the Israel-PLO peace plan. Israeli troops have also withdrawn from six other West Bank towns and most of the Gaza Strip. They are due to leave parts of Hebron in March.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The assistant Air Force attaché at the U.S. embassy in Beijing has been ordered to leave the country by Friday after being arrested and interrogated for 19 hours while traveling in the south of China.
State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns said the arrest of Lt. Col. Bradley Gerdes occurred in Saixi in China's Quongdong province. Gerdes had government permission for the travel and was arrested by local authorities.
The United States has protested the expulsion, but gave no details about the circumstances under which Gerdes was arrested.
SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) - Former president Chun Doo-hwan, charged with accepting more than $273 million in bribes while in office, will go on trial February 5, court officials said Tuesday.
Chun will be tried along with five of his former aides, they said. Chun's successor, former president Roh Tae-Woo, is already on trial on bribery charges.
Chun has confessed to amassing a $890 million slush fund during his 1980-88 term, according to prosecutors who indicted him Friday. That sum is even larger than the $630 million that Roh has admitted amassing during his 1988-93 term.
Chun already has been charged with mutiny in a 1979 military coup and has been in jail since December. Roh has been charged with abetting him.
BONN, Germany (CNN) -- Israeli President Ezer Weizman told the Bonn parliament Tuesday he could not forgive Germany for the crimes of the Third Reich.
Speaking in Hebrew in the country of the Holocaust, Weizman said Germans must vigorously fight against neo-Nazism.
On a four-day official visit, Weizman addressed the parliament's deputies as "my friends" and thanked Germany for its role in helping Israel and fostering the peace process with its Arab neighbors.
Weizman told the hushed parliament, President Roman Herzog and Chancellor Helmut Kohl that it was not easy to be in Germany, where he heard "voices crying to me from the earth" from the 6 million victims of the Holocaust.
Weizman was the first international head of state to address the parliament since Germany reunited in 1990.
Since then, racist attacks have claimed about 30 lives and neo-Nazis have desecrated Jewish cemeteries and set fire twice to synagogues.
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