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Israel-Sym peace talks suspended
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a stun
ning setback, the Clinton administra
tion was forced Monday to call off
scheduled peace talks between Israel
and Syria amid sharp disagreement
between the two sides over a projected
Israeli pullback from the Golan
Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright and senior U.S. mediator
Dennis Ross telephoned Israeli Prime
Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign
Minister Farouk al-Sharaa of Syria
looking for a way to move ahead.
Announcement of the indefinite
suspension came from Jerusalem,
where Barak had been preparing to
return to Shepherdstown, W.Va., for
the second round of talks this month.
“If it isn’t comfortable for the
Syrians to come now, and they need
some time, they should take the time,”
Barak said. “We will come when there
are discussions, and the delay, if in fact
it is agreed on, does not bother us.”
Having agreed last week to resume
the talks Wednesday, Syria hesitated
over the weekend. Syrian officials
were frustrated that the negotiations
had not met their territorial demands -
a promised pullback by Israel from all
the strategic borderline plateau.
Disclosure via an Israeli leak that
Syria had offered Israel diplomatic
relations as well as arrangements on
trade* tourism and transportation may
have contributed to the Syrian frustra
Over the weekend, statements
emanated from Syria and Lebanon
that indicated President Hafez Assad’s
government was reconsidering
whether to proceed to another round.
In Damascus, an informed Syrian
source said Monday that Syria had not
suggested the delay. Rather, al-Sharaa
concluded from telephone conversa
tions with Albright that Israel was not
serious, said the source, who insisted
Al-Sharaa told Albright, with
whom he spoke Saturday as well as
Monday, the Syrians would not partic
ipate in a third round until the Israelis
were prepared to demarcate a new bor
der at lines that existed prior to the
Six-Day War in 1967, the source said.
When Israel decides to go back to
the table to do that, the source said,
then there will be another meeting.
Had the United States insisted on
going ahead with the talks Wednesday,
^ If it isn’t comfortable for the Syrians
to come now, and they need some time,
they should take the time.”
Israeli prime minister
they would have gone forward, a
senior U.S. official said.
But with the two sides in sharp dis
agreement on how to proceed, each
wanting its priority demands dealt
with first, the outlook for progress was
For Syria, that demand is recovery
of all of the Golan Heights, which
Israel captured in the 1967 war. Since
then, the high ground has served as a
border buffer. About 18,000 Jewish
settlers live on the plateau, operating
small businesses, wineries and farms.
Syria is insisting on recovery of
territory all the way to the Sea of
Galilee, Israel’s water storehouse. This
includes patches of land it captured in
the 1950s, then lost in 1967.
Israel and Syria each agreed to
send two experts to Washington to
nibble away at issues that are not cen
tral to land-for-peace negotiations.
After that, the administration will
decide how to proceed, said the offi
cial, speaking on condition of
In a carefully worded statement,
Albright blamed neither side for the
postponement but said their approach
es differed from a U.S.-prepared docu
ment that the Americans hoped would
form a basis for an accord.
Earlier in the day, before the talks
were postponed, Clinton sounded an
“The good news is, I’m convinced
that both still want to do it,” he said
during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day
appearance. “And they are not as far
apart as they might be. They’re not as
far apart as they have been.”
Protesters demand change of S.C. banner
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -
Decrying the Confederate flag as a
symbol of slavery and racism, over
45,000 people marched to South
Carolina’s Statehouse on Martin
Luther King Jr. Day to demand the
banner be taken down.
They also said the slain civil rights
leader should be honored with a per
_ manent state holiday.
South Carolina state workers can
take off on the King holiday or another
of their choice, including one of sever
al tied to Confederate anniversaries.
“The flag is coming down today,”
marchers sang as they walked six
blocks from a downtown church to the
Statehouse. Some carried signs read
ing, “Your heritage is my slavery.”
Across the country, Americans
remembered the slain civil rights
leader Monday with marches and
speeches urging the nation to commit
itself to King’s principles and fulfill his
dream of racial harmony and equality.
This was the first year that the King
holiday was observed in some form in
all 50 states and the 15th year it has
been celebrated as a national holiday.
In Atlanta, Vice President A1 Gore
joined King’s widow, Coretta Scott
King, and other family members in
placing two wreaths at King’s grave.
King, who was assassinated in
Memphis, Tenn., in 1968, would have
been 71 on Saturday.
“Today, nearly 32 years after we
lost him, we still need Martin Luther
King Jr. more than ever,” Gore said
from the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist
Church, where King served as pastor
during the civil rights movement.
At the South Carolina rally against
the flag, state police estimated the
crowd at 46,000 people.
Frederick C. James, a retired
African Methodist Episcopal bishop,
said he was reminded of marching with
King in Washington.
“We were just about as sure in 1963
that we were going to be victorious
with the civil rights law, which was
enacted in 1964, as we are now that this
flag will come down off of that
Statehouse,” he said.
A few white marchers joined the
mostly black crowd.
The National Association for the
*• The flag is a terrible symbol that
brings a lot of negative energy.”
Martin Luther King III
Martin Luther King Jr.’s son
Advancement of Colored People is
waging a tourism boycott against
South Carolina over the flag. Many
marchers from out of state honored the
boycott by sleeping Sunday night on
cots in church basements instead of
checking into hotels.
“This is the kind of thing we need
to be doing on Martin Luther King’s
birthday,” Martin Luther King III,
King’s son, said at a prayer breakfast.
“The flag is a terrible symbol that
brings a lot of negative energy. And
while we believe the flag has an appro
priate place, it just does not belong on
top of the Capitol, because it is not a
sign of unification.”
South Carolina raised the flag in
1962 during the Civil War centennial,
and it flies atop the Statehouse along
with the U.S. and state flags.
Supporters say the banner is a sym
bol of the state’s heritage and honors
Confederate soldiers killed in the Civil
War. More than 6,000 Confederate flag
supporters marched a week ago at the
Only South Carolina’s Legislature
can lower the flag.
While South Carolina is the only
state still flying the flag from its
Capitol, Georgia incorporated the
symbol into its state flag in 1956.
Coalition now wants tourists to boycott
Georgia until the emblem is removed.
Activists are threatening to begin the
boycott on Jan. 30, the day of the Super
Bowl, which will played in Atlanta.
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high 43, low 27 high 51, low 22
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ALL MATERIAL COPYRIGHT 2000
THE DAILY NEBRASKAN
1Bubble’ law to be argued
DENVER (AP) - The morning
calm on a tree-lined residential street
is pierced as sign-carrying protesters
shout at women entering an abortion
“It’s an office of death! Don’t kill
your baby! Do you know what you’re
doing?” they yell from 8 feet away at
women partially shielded by a 4-foot
brick wall outside the Planned
It is a scene dictated by Colorado’s
1993 “bubble” law, which requires
protesters to keep their distance from
patients entering health-care facili
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme
Court will hear arguments on whether
the law legally protects patients from
harassment and intimidation or vio
lates the protesters’ right to free
The decision could establish
guidelines for other states and cities
that have grappled with ways to main
tain peace between protesters and
women seeking abortions.
The state of Colorado argues that
the law balances free-speech rights
with the right to access to health care.
The Legislature passed the law after
hearing patients complain of being
spat on, kicked and harassed.
“It’s all right to protest. That’s
fine. But when it gets down to inter
vening with another person’s recog
nized right, the Legislature felt oblig
ed to step in,” said Deputy Attorney
General Ken Lane.
James Henderson of the Virginia
based American Center for Law and
Justice, which represents the protest
ers, counters that the law tramples on
“My way of sidewalk counseling
is to be gentle and to be compassion
ate. Colorado’s way is to put me so far
away I have to scream and yell,” said
Jeanne Hill, one of three protesters
challenging the law.
Around the country, some cities
have tried creating buffer zones
between protesters and clinic patients,
and between protesters and churches.
Others have required protesters to
obtain permits for demonstrations.
Fourteen states and the District of
Columbia have laws that prohibit pro
testers from blocking clinic entrances,
said Elizabeth Amdorfer, an attorney
with the National Abortion and
Reproductive Rights Action League.
The Colorado law bars people
from counseling, distributing leaflets
or displaying signs within 8 feet of
others, without their consent
Pinochet petition problem
falls on British court
MADRID, Spain (AP) - Spain
put the Pinochet ball squarely back in
Britain’s court Monday, sending
London a judge’s request for a new
medical exam to determine whether
the former Chilean dictator is mental
ly fit to stand trial.
The move came a day before
Britain’s deadline for opinions on the
Last week, Britain’s Home Office
said doctors believe Gen. Augusto
Pinochet, 84, is too ill to be extradited
to Spain to face charges. Home
Secretary Jack Straw said he was
considering canceling the extradi
tion, but he asked for opinions from
Spain, France, Belgium and
Soon alter, Spanish Foreign
Minister Abel Matutes said the ;
Spanish government would not send
Britain any more petitions from
Judge Baltasar Garzon, the magis
trate who wants to try Pinochet in
Madrid. Spanish leaders have always
been uneasy about their involvement
in the case, which has potential impli
cations for their relations with Chile
Matutes’ office later qualified its
statement, saying the petition would
be forwarded but only if it contained
new material. On Monday, Spain
decided to forward Garzon’s petition
Garzon’s call for a second med
ical examination was joined by four
groups: Amnesty International, the
Medical Foundation for the Care of
Victims ofTorture, the Association of
the Relatives of the Disappeared in
Chile, and Redress.
Putin asks groups to see
Russia’s side in Chechnya
KURCHALOI, Russia (AP) -
Federal forces bombarded roads and
footpaths in Chechnya’s southern
mountains Monday, trying to prevent
rebel raids into Russian-controlled
villages, while acting President
Vladimir Putin appealed to European
human rights leaders to see Russia’s
side in the war.
Russian airplanes and artillery
pounded the Vedeno region, a strong
hold deep in the mountains, about 35
miles south of the capital. Troops
took three settlements in the region,
the Interfax news agency said.
According to Russian reconnais
sance reports, rebels are active in the
region and are planning to storm.
The federal forces want to pre
vent a repeat of the raids on Russian
controlled towns earlier this month,
which cast doubts on the military’s
reports of success in Chechnya.
NASA calls it quits on Mars
Polar Lander mission
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -
NASA on Monday gave up trying to
contact the missing Mars Polar
Lander, confirming what had been
suspected for more than a month: the
$165 million spacecraft was dead
Engineers at NASA’s Jet
Propulsion Laboratory listened for
the spacecraft one last time and heard
“It is closure in the sense that I
think we did everything we could to
re-establish contact, and, yes, it’s time
to get on to other things,” said project
scientist Richard Zurek.
The spacecraft vanished Dec. 3
while trying to land on Mars. It was to
have studied the atmosphere and dug
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