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January 06, 2000 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-01-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


U.S. goverment decides to
return boy to family in Cuba

The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 6, 2000 - 7

MIAMI (AP) - Touching off angry
protests by hundreds of Cuban-
Americans, the U.S. government decid-
ed yesterday to send 6-year-old Elian
Monzalez back to Cuba because "this
ittle boy ... belongs with his father."
Elian has been in the middle of an
international tug-of-war since he
was found Thanksgiving Day cling-
ing to an inner tube at sea after his
mother, stepfather and eight others
died while trying to reach the United
He has been living with relatives in
Miami, who have insisted they could
give Elian a better life than his father
would back in Cuba. But yesterday, the
i'nmigration and Naturalization
Service decided that Elian should be
with his father instead.
"Family reunification has long
been a cornerstone of both American
immigration law and U.S. practice,"
INS Commissioner Doris Meissner
said at a news conference in
Washington. "This little boy, who has
been through so much, belongs with
ris father."
She said the father, Juan Miguel
Gonzalez, "made it very clear that he
wants Elian returned to him as soon as
possible." Even though the boy's par-
ents were divorced, the INS found that

Elian had a "close and continuous rela-
tionship" with his father.
The agency ruled that Elian must
return to Cuba by Jan. 14.
Lawyers for the boy's relatives asked
Attorney General Janet Reno to reverse
the decision and also planned to ask a
federal judge for a restraining order.
They said the INS was violating its own
rules by not allowing the boy to apply
for political asylum.
Gonzalez, the father, could not be
located for comment yesterday. He and
Elian's four grandparents had dinner
Tuesday in Havana with Fidel Castro,
said the Rev. Joan Brown Campbell of
the National Council of Churches, who
went to Cuba to help reunite father and
After the INS decision, several hun-
dred people linked arms, shouted
"Liberty!" and sang the Cuban national
anthem in front of the house where
Elian has been staying with his paternal
great-aunt and great-uncle.
In front of the Miami INS office, sev-
eral hundred protesters waved Cuban
and American flags and shouted anti-
Castro slogans.
The protests were emotional but
peaceful, and paled in comparison to
the huge government-staged rallies in
Havana demanding the boy's return.

"They're using him as if he were a
toy and Fidel Castro is saying, 'He's
mine, not yours,"' said Norisbel
Almeida, a mother of two young chil-
dren at the protest outside the home.
"Why did they show him the good life
so he could go back to Cuba and have
Since he was rescued, Elian has been
flooded with toys, visited Disney
World, celebrated his first Christmas in
the United States and started attending
first grade.
He also been in the constant glare
of TV cameras. Reporters and pho-
tographers staked out the home yes-
terday as TV helicopters hovered
above the house and tracked Elian's
movement as he left school, dressed
in his uniform of blue pants and
white shirt.
Family members tried to shield Elian
from the protests and media attention,
hustling him from school to an undis-
closed location.
"He doesn't know what is going on.
We don't want to make him feel bad,"
said Marisleysis Gonzalez, the boy's
In Cuba, the communist government
warned citizens to guard against
"excessive optimism" about the U.S.
government's decision.

Elian Gonzalez smiles as he arrives for his first day of school in Miami on Tuesday
before the U.S. government decided yesterday to send him back to Cuba.

Israelis withdraw from West
Bank, end 7-week deadlock

Syria talk
details d
The Washington Post
the first time in almost four years, Israeli
and Syrian officials yesterday began
reckoning with the concrete implicT s
of peace, sitting down with U.S. med-
tors to hash out details of s ti y
arrangements and the potential forer-
mal diplomatic and trade relations .
The convening of two so-called teh-
nical committees marked the substan-
tive beginning of the Shepherdstown
talks, which opened here Monday amid
soaring hopes for an end to half-acp-
tury of bloodshed and confrontation.
Committees also have been formed to
deal with water issues and the extentof
an Israeli withdrawal from the Glan
Heights, the strategic plateau captured
by Israel in 1967.
In keeping with participants' vows Of
secrecy, State Department spokesper-
son James Rubin declined to provide
any details of yesterday's discussions at
the Clarion Hotel and Conference
Center, except to describe thtas
"constructive, businesslike and psive
in terms of getting down to businA "
But that in itself marks a significent
achievement: For the first time sinesn
earlier round of negotiations collapsed
in March 1996, Syrian and IsraeliWi-
cials are sitting down at the same tate
to haggle over the components of a.4al
that has the potential to remake the
political landscape of the Middle East.
The beginning of the technical meet-
ings followed an informal social gath-
ering here Tuesday night hosted by
President Clinton, who held forth on
the lessons of the Civil War landmarks
- including the Antietam battlefield
- that surround this quaint West
Virginia town. Israeli Prime Mnister
Ehud Barak addressed members of the
Syrian delegation, led by Fofitgn
Minister Farouk Charaa, in Arabi as
the guests sipped non-alcoholic bever-
ages, Rubin said.
In contrast to Monday and Tuesday,
Clinton did not participate in yesterday's
discussions, although U.S. officials say
he is ready to travel here on short rio-tice
- the helicopter trip from the White
House takes about 30 minutes - when-
ever his presence is required.
Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright, who plans to be here through-
out the open-ended talks, had lutich
yesterday with Barak and was srched-
uled to meet later with Charaa.
The talks got off to something--of a
bumpy start when Syrian and Ssreli
officials clashed over Charaa's isis-
tence that the two sides deal first wh
the question of Israel's willingness to
withdraw fully from the Golan, Syia's
main condition for peace. Israeli-offi-
cials countered that they could not con-
sider the border issue without first
receiving Syrian assurances on security
arrangements. water rights and the nor-
malization of relations.



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Israelis and Palestinians reach
agreement about occupied territory
JERUSALEM (AP) - The handover was quick and
unemotional. An Israeli officer shook hands with
Palestinian officials and muttered "Bye, folks" before he
led a convoy of jeeps out of an Israeli army base in the
West Bank yesterday.
The Israeli pullback from a small slice of land was one
of the last before Israel and the Palestinians draw their
final borders in a September peace treaty.
The withdrawal ended a seven-week deadlock between
the two sides over a relatively minor issue - whether the
Palestinians would have a say in sketching the maps of the
partial troop withdrawals. Israeli and Palestinian officials
were mum about how the dispute was resolved, but both
sides said privately the other gave in.
Palestinians held up a November handover of 5 percent
of the West Bank, complaining about the type of land
being offered, and demanding more populated land closer
to east Jerusalem, their hoped-for capital.
The Palestinians said they were trying to establish the
principle that Israel cannot dictate the withdrawal maps.
Israel resisted, and now denies reports that it eventually
relented and promised the Palestinians some of the
desired areas in the next scheduled withdrawal from 6.1
percent of the West Bank on Jan. 20.
Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, who is believed to
be involved in backchannel talks with the Palestinians,
said the Palestinians looked a gift horse in the mouth
when they held up the withdrawal.
The Palestinians "didn't receive a 'tempting offer'
because they don't need a 'tempting offer' to receive ter-
ritory," Beilin told Israel radio yesterday. "There is a limit
to absurdity."
Once the partial pullbacks are completed, the
Palestinians will have full or partial control over 40 per-

cent of the West Bank.
Yesterday's withdrawal began around midday when sev-
eral trucks loaded with furniture and mattresses pulled
out of the Yosef army base east of the West Bank town of
Braving driving rain, Israeli military troops lowered
their flag.
An Israeli lieutenant colonel shook hands with
Palestinian officials waiting at the gate, and left with a
quick "bye, folks."A convoy of Israeli jeeps drove away and
the Palestinians rushed in and hoisted their own banner.
In all, the army said it transferred six bases and camps
in the northern and southern West Bank, giving 3 percent
of the land to Palestinian civil rule and 2 percent to full
Palestinian control.
But a Palestinian official, speaking on condition of
anonymity, said that the 2 percent, mostly areas north of
the town of Ramallah, would only be officially turned
over today.
The Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in charge of the
withdrawal were meeting last night.
By Feb. 13, the two sides are to reach agreement on the
framework for a final peace treaty, which would include
an outline of a future border between Israel and the
Palestinian entity.
Negotiators have reported some progress, but it was uncer-
tain whether they could meet the self-imposed deadline.
Progress on the Israeli-Palestinian track came at a time
when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak was engaged in
intensive peace talks with Syria about such issues as
whether to give the Golan Heights, land that Israel cap-
tured from Syria during the Yom Kippur War in 1967, to
The withdrawal appeared to back Barak's claim that it
was possible to move ahead on both tracks simultaneous-
ly, and that he would not focus on one at the expense of
the other.

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Kashmiri militant calls to destroy U.S.
KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) - One in peace until Kashmir is liberated"
of three Kashmiri militants freed as Azhar told the crowd, many of them " have come here because this is gin
part of a deal to end the Indian members of his militant group, d t el h tM sli s
Airlines hijacking called on his fol- Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen. The group is d ty to wryouera shouldIda n cnierdoe fte otraia
lowers yesterday to destroy India and considered one of the most iadical o s i e C n lW N V
the United States. groups fighting in Indian-ruled
Encircled by men dressed in camou- Kashmir. d destroyed Am rc n ""d ' .
flage-colored clothes and brandishing Armed with grenades, pistols and AmericadA
automatic rifles, Maulana Masood knives, five hijackers seized Flight 814-- Maulana Masood Az
Azhar gave a fiery speech to 10,000 some 40 minutes after it took off from One of three freed Kashmiri milita
supporters who gathered in front of a Katmandu, Nepal, on a scheduled flight
central Karachi mosque. to New Delhi on Dec. 24. The hijacked
"I have come here because this is my plane made stops in India, Pakistan and assault," he said, without elaborating. of decades of conflict. Both count
duty to tell you that Muslims should not the United Arab Emirates before land- When the speech ended several lay claim to the entire territory.
rest in peace until we have destroyed ing in Afghanistan. bodyguards, with kalashniko4automnat- Azhar and Sheikh had been inhIr
America and India," Azhar said, vowing To secure the release of the 155 ic rifles, whisked Azhar into a truck and jails since 1994, although neith r
to liberate the embattled Kashmir hostages, India agreed to release Azhar, sped off. reportedly been formally ear
region from Indian rule. along with two other jailed Kashmiri Pakistan said after the hijacking Azhar, a Pakistani Islamic cleric a
The crowd responded by screaming, militants, that its border security was put on radical ideologue was jailed for tr
"God is Great!" and "Death to India, The whereabouts of the other two alert and the hijackers would be to unite several of the Kashmiri r
Death to the United States" -- Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, an arrested if found, a difficult task groups.
Azhar's arrival in Karachi from Indian Kashmiri, and Ahmed Umar given the length of the border and the Pakistan previously said A e
neighboring Afghanistan, where the Saeed Sheikh, a Pakistani-born multitude of access points from whose father is a retired school teal
eight-day hijacking ended Friday, was British citizen - was not clear yes- Afghanistan. from Punjab province, wouldf
unannounced. terday. The hijackers have not been seen allowed to return to his hon1le
Though the Pakistani government Azhar, his head wrapped in a check- since they left the airport in southern because he did not face any chag
earlier said that the hijackers would be ered scarf, said the five hijackers were Afghanistan. They were given 10 hours home.
arrested if they stepped foot in their all Indian Kashmiris. He said they had by Afghanistan's ruling Taliban to leake Since the hijacking ended, India
country, there was no effort to detain returned to Kashmir, the disputed terri- the country. Pakistan have exchanged bitter ae
Azhar or to bar him from speaking tory divided between India and The three militants are Kashmiri tions. India says Pakistan orchestr
Wednesday. Pakistan. activists opposed to Indian rule in the drama, a charge vehemently de
"I have come back and I will not rest "They are preparing for their next Kashmir, which has been the source by Pakistan.

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