2A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 22, 2004
Chile relations in trouble after spat NEws INBRIEF
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SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) - Presi-
dent Bush tried to mend relations in
Latin America with fresh promises of
immigration reform yesterday, while a
new security spat surfaced with Chile
after an embarrassing fracas in which
What was supposed to have been an
elaborate state dinner with 200 people
yesterday was downgraded to an official
working dinner, reportedly because Chil-
ean President Ricardo Lagos balked at
Secret Service demands for guests to walk
through metal detectors. The guest list for
the working dinner was pared down to the
leaders, their wives and top aides.
On Saturday night, Bush waded
into a scuffle that erupted when Chil-
ean authorities blocked the president's
Secret Service agents from accompa-
nying him into a dinner. As tempers
flared and a shoving match ensued,
Bush pushed into the commotion,
grabbed his lead agent, Nick Trotta,
and pulled him inside.
The incident, shown repeatedly on
television worldwide, was an unlikely
episode in an otherwise staid gathering
of 21 Pacific Rim leaders at the Asia-
Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
In a moment of levity, the leaders posed
in colorful, hand-woven ponchos - fol-
lowing the summit tradition of wearing
native garb of the host country.
White House press secretary Scott
McClellan, referring to the Saturday
night scuffle, said, "The president is
someone who tends to delegate but
every now and then, he's a hands-on
kind of guy."
Bush, arriving at La Moneda palace,
greeted Lagos with self-deprecating
humor: "Ricardo, aqui esta el gringo."
provide a path to citizenship. Fox hopes
to persuade Bush to expand his plan.
"One way to make sure the border is
secure iswto have reasonable immigra-
tion policies," the president said. He said
he assured Fox that Mexicans should be
treated with respect and dignity in the
Fox said he wanted to meet with Bush
in Washington to discuss economic-
security issues. "Mexico wants to fulfill
its responsibility to make its economy
grow, make it stronger, to have more
jobs in Mexico," Fox said. "That is our
Fox said afterward he expected to meet
with Bush in Washington in February or
March to discuss migration and trade.
"Our friendship, our relationship
is strong, it's a very optimistic one,"
Asked whether Bush had promised to
move the immigration legislation for-
ward, Fox told CNN's "Late Edition:"
"What I got, and very firmly, is his will,
his will to attend this issue."
Bush and Fox avoided talking about
subjects where they differ, such as Iraq
and Cuba, administration officials said.
The U.S. reputation in Latin America
has been hurt by the Iraq war, which is
deeply unpopular in the region. There
also is a feeling that the Bush administra-
tion has neglected the needs of the West-
ern Hemisphere, and there is friction over
the U.S. push for open, freer economies,
a campaign viewed by some as an unwel-
come dictate from Washington.
After the summit, Bush met briefly
with Peruvian President Alejandro Tole-
do to discuss an Andean free-trade pact
involving Colombia, Peru and Ecuador
in commerce with the United States.
President Bush and his wife Laura arrive at the Estacion Mapocho Cultural
Center at the APEC Summit Saturday in Santiago, Chile. To the right is the
unidentified U.S. Secret Service Agent originally blocked from entering,
Translation: "Ricardo, the gringo's here."
The two-day summit ended with
pledges to shore up global security, fight
terrorism and push ahead with nego-
tiations to lower trade barriers seen as
impediments to economic growth.
Bush opened the day with Mexi-
can President Vicente Fox, discussing
immigration issues that are sensitive
on both sides of the border. Bush began
his presidency with a campaign to
improve relations with Mexico but his
attention was diverted by the terrorist
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001._
Renewing a plan, which stalled in
Congress after he unveiled it in Janu-
ary, Bush urged changes in U.S. law that
could allow millions of undocumented
laborers to work legally in the United
States on temporary visas but would not
Palestinians push Powell on W. Bank
Palestinian leaders will urge Secretary of State Colin Powell to pressure Israel
to withdraw troops from disputed areas in the West Bank before holding January
elections to replace longtime leader Yasser Arafat, a senior official said Saturday.
Underscoring the troubled security situation there, Israeli forces shot and killed two
15-year-old Palestinian boys throwing stones at Israeli jeeps in the West Bank city of
Nablus, Palestinian hospital officials said. The Israeli army said it opened fire on two
Palestinians who were shooting at them, but it did not know whether they had died.
In other violence, soldiers shot a Palestinian man attempting to infiltrate the
Israeli settlement of Netzarim in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian security officials said
he was killed.
Also, the Palestinians formally opened the campaign to replace Arafat, as can-
didates began seeking signatures to qualify for the Jan. 9 ballot. Candidates have
12 days to submit their paperwork for the landmark election.
In the run-up to Powell's visit, the Palestinian leadership will outline a sweeping
agenda to return to peace talks in Sunday meetings with William Burns, the U.S.
assistant secretary of state and the most senior American to visit the West Bank
since Arafat's death Nov. 11.
Congress vows action on intelligence bill
Unwilling to concede defeat, congressional leaders expressed hope yesterday
that lawmakers could return next month to resolve a turf battle that has blocked pas-
sage of an overhaul of the nation's intelligence agencies. Much depends on whether
President Bush is more active in bringing his own troops in line, they said.
"For us to do the bill in early December it will take significant involvement by
the president and the vice president," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-
Tenn.). "It will take real focus on their part."
During a chaotic Saturday that was intended as the final meeting of the 108th
Congress, negotiators announced a compromise on the intelligence bill. Hours
later, opposition from the Republican chairmen of two committees stymied the
legislation, which would create a national intelligence director.
Reflecting Pentagon concerns about the legislation, California Rep. Duncan
Hunter of the House Armed Services warned that the bill could interfere with
the military chain of command and endanger troops in the field. Wisconsin Rep.
James Sensenbrenner of the House Judiciary Committee demanded that the bill
deal with illegal immigration.
State sex offender laws stricter after abduction
In the year since college student Dru Sjodin was abducted from a North Dakota
parking lot and killed, allegedly by a convicted sex offender, the state has worked
to make its sex offender laws among the strictest in the nation.
Parole officer Brian Weigel's unit is new, part of the state's heightened enforce-
ment since Sjodin's abduction a year ago today. The 22-year-old University of
North Dakota student's body was found last spring in a ravine in Minnesota.
The man charged with abducting Sjodin and killing her, Alfonso Rodriguez Jr.,
is a convicted sex offender who had been released from prison just six months
before she disappeared. He has pleaded not guilty to a federal charge of kidnapping
resulting in death. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
The case drew national attention as volunteers, National Guard soldiers and law
enforcement officers searched the region for months looking for Sjodin. Her body
wasn't found until after the snow melted.
Tallies inconclusive in prime minister election
Ukraine's prime minister was leading the nation's run-off presidential election
according to partial vote tallies released today, but his Western-leaning challenges
held the advantage in an exit poll funded partly by the United States.
With 69 percent of precincts counted following yesterday's election, Prime Minister
Viktor Yanukovych had 48.58 percent of the vote, compared with Viktor Yushchenko'
47.78 percent, the Central Election Commission said. About 2 percent voted against
But an exit poll conducted by anonymous questionnaires under a program fundec
by several Western governments said Yushchenko had received 54 percent of the vote
compared with the Kremlin-praised Yanukovych's 43 percent. A second exit poll, how-
ever, showed Yushchenko's margin was much smaller at 49.4 percent to 45.9 percent
the Interfax news agency reported.
$31 billion Iraqi debt forgiven by Paris Club
PARIS (AP) - Major economic pow-
ers agreed yesterday to write off more
than $31 billion in debt for Iraq in a deal
that boosted U.S. efforts to help put the
Iraqi economy back on its feet.
Under the agreement, the Paris Club
of 19 creditor nations will write off 80
percent of the $38.9 billion that Iraq
owes them, group chairman Jean-Pierre
Jouyet said. The Paris Club includes the
United States, Japan, Russia and Euro-
Iraq owes another $80 billion to
various Arab governments. A clause in
the agreement gives the Paris Club the
option to suspend part of the debt reduc-
tion if it were not matched by Iraq's
other major creditors - led by Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait.
The United States had been pressing
for up to 95 percent of the Paris Club
debt to be lifted. Iraq has said its foreign
debt was hindering postwar reconstruc-
tion, already struggling amid the coun-
try's persistent insurgency.
Iraq's finance minister, Adel Abdul-
Mahdi, hailed what he described as a
"This money is needed for Iraq not
only because Iraq is a ruined country
but because Iraq is an important play-
er internationally," he said after the
deal was signed in Paris. "What will
happen in Iraq will affect politically
and economically the Middle East and
The deal represented a considerable
concession from France, just as French
President Jacques Chirac's government
is pushing to rebuild ties with the Bush
administration that were damaged by
disagreements over the U.S.-led Iraq
war. France opposed the invasion that
toppled Saddam Hussein.
Treasury Secretary John Snow
praised the deal as a major step in the
rebuilding of Iraq.
"This is a real milestone, and it shows
the trans-Atlantic alliance remains a
strong force for good in the world,"
Snow said during a meeting of finance
officials in Berlin.
Jouyet, at a news conference in Paris,
said the debt reduction plan would work
in three phases, with 30 percent of the
debt being written off immediately.
Another 30 percent will be canceled
when Iraq agrees on a reform program
with the International Monetary Fund
expected in 2005. The third and final
portion,representing 20 percent of Iraq's
debt to the Paris Club, will be canceled
in 2008, once Iraq has completed its
three-year IMF program, Jouyet said.
The Paris Club's chairman said the
group had "shown its flexibility" over
Iraq's reconstruction needs and its lim-
ited ability to service its debt in the
"Iraq will be able to concentrate its
entire resources on its reconstruction,"
The deal was reached after Russia,
the one country that still needed to sign
off on the deal, gave its approval after
talks that began Saturday and ended
yesterday, officials said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin
has previously said his country would
be willing in principle to write off more
than half of Iraq's $8 billion debt to
Moscow through the Paris Club.
France had long argued that slash-
ing Iraq's Paris Club debt by more than
half would be unfair to other poorer
nations that also are saddled with debts
but do not have the potential wealth of
"How would you explain to these
people that ... we are going to do more
for Iraq than we have done in 10 years
for the 37 poorest and most indebted
countries in the world?" Chirac said in
June at a summit of the Group of Eight
powers that Bush hosted.
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