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| pdf edition | Tuesday October 16 2007

World
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Putin warns US against military action on Iran
Military intervention would be unacceptable, Putin says. Page 2

Beijing rails against US welcome for Dalai Lama
Bush’s red carpet welcome and medal cause anger in Beijing. Page 4

India-US nuclear deal stalls indefinitely

Indian PM tells Bush pact stalled for foreseeable future. Page 4

Turkey plays down talk of imminent Iraq incursion Page 5 Chávez cements ties with Castro in growing anti-US alliance Page 6

Pakistan agrees border ceasefire, tribal elder says Page 7 Thai police name suspected web paedophile Page 8

US presses Palestinians and Israel to find common ground Page 8 Japan turns economic screw on Burma Page 9

Growth is not our only goal, Hu tells Chinese Page 10 Tamil Tigers kill seven soldiers in wildlife park Page 11

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Tuesday October 16 200717:00 GMT
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Putin warns US against military action on Iran
Robert Tait in Tehran, Mark Tran and agencies Tuesday October 16, 2007 Guardian Unlimited

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad greets Vladimir Putin true;

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videoConfig[7][‘link’]=’http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/ video/2007/sep/14/bush.speech’; videoConfig[8] = new Object(); videoConfig[8][‘title’]=’Extract from Baghdad: A Doctor’s Story’; videoConfig[8][‘description’]=’The Guardian Films documentary Baghdad: A Doctor’s Story has won an International Emmy Award. The fil...’; videoConfig[8][‘duration’]=’⊳⊳’; videoConfig[8][‘thumb’]=’http://image.guardian. co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2007/09/27/ BagdadDoctorThumb.jpg’; videoConfig[8][‘link’]=’http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/ video/2007/sep/27/iraq’; videoConfig[9] = new Object(); videoConfig[9][‘title’]=’Al Gore wins Nobel peace prize’; videoConfig[9][‘description’]=’The former US vice-president Al Gore shares the Nobel peace prize for raising awareness of climate ch...’; videoConfig[9][‘duration’]=’⊳⊳’; videoConfig[9][‘thumb’]=’http://image.guardian.co.uk/sysimages/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2007/10/12/alGore140x84.jpg’; videoConfig[9][‘link’]=’http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/ video/2007/oct/12/nobel’; videoConfig[10] = new Object(); videoConfig[10][‘title’]=’Cameron calls Brown a phoney’; videoConfig[10][‘description’]=’David Cameron launches a savage attack on the prime minister’s credibility at PMQs.’; videoConfig[10][‘duration’]=’⊳⊳’; videoConfig[10][‘thumb’]=’http://image.guardian.co.uk/sysimages/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2007/10/10/Cameron140x84. jpg’; videoConfig[10][‘link’]=’http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/ video/2007/oct/10/cameron’; var textConfig = new Object(); textConfig[“endOverlayTitle”] = “Related videos”; textConfig[“endLinkText”] = “All Videos”; textConfig[“endLinkURL”] = “http://www.guardian. co.uk/video”; function getConfigObject(which) { if (which == “config”) return config; else if (which == “videoConfig”) return videoConfig; else if (which == “textConfig”) return textConfig; } Any military intervention in the Caspian Sea area would be unacceptable, Mr Putin declared as he attended a five-country regional summit in Tehran. “We should not even think of making use of force in this region,” Mr Putin told his fellow leaders. His remarks also appeared directed at Azerbaijan, amid Russian media speculation that the US might be trying to negotiate with the republic on the right to use military facilities there, something Azeri officials deny. “We are saying that no Caspian nation should offer its territory to third powers for use of force or military aggression against any Caspian state,” Mr Putin said.
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Tuesday October 16 200717:00 GMT
A summit declaration from the five, which include Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan beside Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan, subsequently stressed that “under no circumstances will they allow (the use of their) territories by third countries to launch aggression or other military action against any of the member states”. The first Kremlin leader to visit Iran since Joseph Stalin in 1943, Mr Putin is holding talks with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, on Tehran’s nuclear dispute with the west during the summit. The importance of Mr Putin’s trip to the Iranian side was clearly illustrated by the presence of Manouchehr Mottaki, Iran’s foreign minister, who greeted Mr Putin as he stepped of his plane after it landed at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport at around 9am local time (6.30BST). Leaders from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan were met by lower-level dignitaries. Mr Putin was later greeted personally by Mr Ahmadinejad, before the start of the summit at the palatial Saad Abad complex in north Tehran, local media reported. Mr Putin has been accompanied by a retinue of 180 staff, aides and security personnel. A fleet of armoured cars has also been shipped from Russia for his trip. The Russian leader’s arrival had earlier been in doubt after the Russian special security services disclosed on Sunday that they had uncovered a plot to assassinate him in a suicide bomb in the Iranian capital. Iranian officials angrily dismissed the alleged conspiracy as “psychological warfare”. Mr Putin’s presence was widely expected to overshadow the official purpose of the conference, which is ostensibly to thrash out disagreements over the sharing of resources in the oil-rich Caspian Sea. Iran sees the arrival of Mr Putin — who accepted Mr Ahmadinejad’s invitation to visit when the pair met at an Asian co-operation summit in Shanghai in August — as a major coup in its efforts to resist western pressure over its nuclear programme, which the US and its allies suspect is aimed at building an atomic bomb. Russia’s veto on the UN security council means its support is vital if Iran is to avoid a third round of sanctions when the body meets next month. Moscow has criticised US attempts to pressure Tehran through economic sanctions and military threats and has called for greater engagement with Iran. Last week, Mr Putin angered the US by declaring that there was no “objective evidence” that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear bomb. However, he has also called on Iran to show greater openness and flexibility over its uranium enrichment programme. The nuclear issue is not on the summit agenda, but it will be discussed when Mr Putin holds one-on-one meetings with Mr Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, who has the final say on all state matters. Despite the official hype, Mr Putin’s visit is being treated with scepticism. Russia is mistrusted by many Iranians, who point to a history of hostile relations going back two centuries. Iran is angry over delays in a £500m contract with Russia to build the Bushehr nuclear power station. Russia has put completion on hold because of alleged late payments by the Iranians. Iran has denied the accusation and believes Russia is merely trying to use the issue to wring concessions over the
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nuclear programme. The historic suspicions were reflected in an article today on the reformist No Rouz website, headlined The Second Turkmanchai Is On Its Way, a reference to an 1828 peace treaty in which Iran was forced to cede large swathes of territory in the Caucasus to Russia. The article claimed Iran was being pressed to accept a “shameful” agreement giving it an 11% share of Caspian resources in a package that would allow Russian nuclear submarines to sail close to the Iranian coast. Until 1991, Tehran and Moscow had equal shares in the Caspian Sea, but the break-up of the Soviet Union triggered moves to re-allocate resources. Iran says the resources should be shared equally among the five Caspian states, but Russia believes it should be based on coastal size, giving Tehran a much smaller proportion and depriving it of gas and oil resources. Opening today’s conference, Mr Ahmadinejad ignored such difficulties. “The five countries are all cradles of civilisation and have existed in peace for thousands of years,” he said.

Tuesday October 16 200717:00 GMT
The Dalai Lama’s triumphant visit to the US, from packed audiences in New York to his welcome in Washington, has delighted Tibetan exiles but has infuriated Beijing. “The move will seriously damage China-US relations,” a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Liu Jianchao, said of tomorrow’s congressional award. Mr Liu told a news conference that China hoped the US would “correct its mistakes and cancel relevant arrangements and stop interfering in the internal affairs of China by any means”. Officials in Chinese-controlled Tibet used even stronger language. “We are furious. If the Dalai Lama can receive such an award, there must be no justice or good people in the world,” Zhang Qingli, the communist part leader of Tibet, told reporters. The Dalai Lama has lived in India since the failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. He remains popular among Tibetans and has a strong following in the west. But Beijing views him as a separatist and a traitor. China this week pulled out of a meeting of world powers to discuss Iran in protest at the Dalsi Lama’s visit to the US visit. Beijing also cancelled its annual human rights meeting with Germany, angry at the Dalai Lama’s meeting with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. The Dalai Lama has not shied away from talking tough either. During a two-hour session at the Jacob Javits convention centre in New York, he said: “The Tibetan cause is a cause of justice, and that’s something that cannot fade away. That is the nature of truth — that it cannot die with time and with the change of generations.” Beijing considers the Dalai Lama a political exile bent on establishing an independent Tibet, an accusation he has repeatedly denied. He claims he only wants greater autonomy and is waging a non-violent campaign for greater rights for his six million people. China has been consistently criticised by human rights groups over Tibet. Amnesty International said this week that four Tibetan children aged 15 who have been detained since last month are at grave risk of torture and mistreatment on suspicion of writing pro-Tibetan independence slogans.

Beijing rails against US welcome for Dalai Lama
Mark Tran and agencies Tuesday October 16, 2007 Guardian Unlimited

The Dalai Lama arrives in Washington to receive a congressional medal. Photograph: Lawrence Jackson/AP China expressed anger today at America’s red carpet treatment of the Dalai Lama and warned that plans to honour him would seriously damage relations with Beijing. Despite Chinese protests, President Bush was scheduled to meet Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader later today at the White House, the first sitting US president to do so. Tomorrow, Mr Bush is to attend a ceremony on Capitol Hill where the Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel peace prize in 1989, will receive the congressional gold medal. Past recipients of America’s highest award for civilians have included Tony Blair, Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela. The Dalai Lama’s special envoy, Lodi Gyari, said images of Mr Bush standing beside the spiritual leader at the congressional ceremony would send a clear message that “people do care about Tibet. We have not been forgotten.” “I have no doubt this will give tremendous encouragement and hope to the Tibetan people,” he told reporters ahead of the visit. It also “sends a powerful message to China that the Dalai Lama is not going to go away”.
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India-US nuclear deal stalls indefinitely
Randeep Ramesh in New Delhi Tuesday October 16, 2007 Guardian Unlimited

The controversial nuclear deal between India and the US has been put into “deep freeze” after the Indian prime minister told the US president, George Bush, “certain difficulties” had stalled the pact for the foreseeable future. Described by the Bush administration as the “single A long-range missile capable most important initiative in the 60 years of our relationship”’ of carrying a nuclear warhead is paraded through the landmark agreement would have allowed India to become New Delhi. Photograph: AP
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the first nation allowed to keep its atomic weapons and to trade in nuclear technology despite not having signed international treaties on non-proliferation. Although India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, had personally backed the deal, the government was unable to convince communist allies the agreement was in the country’s interest. In the two months since the pact was finalised, the row between Mr Singh and communist politicians, vital for his government’s survival, has become increasingly bitter. The communists’ argument is that India’s foreign policy is becoming subservient to the US, and that Washington is steadily moulding the country’s economy. The nuclear deal, they say, tightens America’s hold on India. In the end, leftwing parties threatened to bring down the administration with an ultimatum: either back us or the US. The ruling coalition has another one and half years left before it needs to call for elections.That led, analysts say, to a government climbdown. In Washington, the Indian embassy put out a statement saying: “The prime minister also explained to President Bush that certain difficulties have arisen with respect to the operationalisation of the India-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement.” K Subramanyam, a defence analyst who has written in support of the nuclear pact, said this was part of an “ideological battle in India between isolationists and globalisers”. “The deal is in suspended animation,” he said. “It is not dead yet. The US Congress has an act on its books; there is another bilateral agreement that has been negotiated. So everything is in place when an Indian government feels it is ready to do a deal. Even a new president in Washington will have to acknowledge that 80% of the US Congress voted for the deal.” Mr Subramanyam said the government could still try to pass the deal as a “final act”. “It is still possible to dissolve the house and call for polls. Meanwhile, an interim government could go ahead [with the agreement].” Signs that the deal was close to collapse first emerged over the weekend, when the prime minister told a conference in New Delhi: “One has to live with certain disappointments. We are not a one-issue government. The deal not coming through is not the end of life.” The nuclear pact was first conceived in July 2005. It was seen as a way of bringing India, which has an advanced military and civilian nuclear programme, in from the cold. Supporters say it would help to supply India’s growing energy needs and mitigate against greenhouse gas emissions. However, some scientists remain sceptical of the deal’s value. The former chairman of India’s atomic energy commission, HN Sethna, said the government had been “sensible” to stall the agreement. “It would have seen India become reliant on imports of enriched uranium rather than relying on our own supplies.”

Tuesday October 16 200717:00 GMT

Turkey plays down talk of imminent Iraq incursion
Mark Tran and agencies Tuesday October 16, 2007 Guardian Unlimited

The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photograph: Burhan Ozbilici/AP Turkey today played down the possibility of an early attack on Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq as Baghdad sent its vicepresident to Ankara for urgent talks. Amid warnings that Turkish military action could exacerbate what is already the Middle East’s worst refugee crisis since the 1940s, the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said a parliamentary green light did not necessarily mean that a military incursion was imminent. The Turkish parliament is expected to agree tomorrow to Mr Erdogan’s request for possible cross-border offensives into the semi-autonomous, oil-rich Kurdish region of Iraq. The prospect of military action by Nato’s second-largest army helped push crude prices to a record high of over £43 ($88) a barrel today. “I sincerely wish that this motion will never be applied. Passage of this motion does not mean an immediate incursion will follow, but we will act at the right time and under the right conditions,” Mr Erdogan told his ruling Justice and Development (AK) party in a speech. “This is about selfdefence.” To head off any action that might destabilise one of the country’s few largely peaceful regions, Iraq’s Sunni Arab vicepresident, Tariq al-Hashemi, flew to Turkey for urgent talks. The Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, also called for a “crisis cell” to meet today to monitor developments along the Turkish border. “We are ready to have urgent talks with senior officials in the Turkish government to discuss all the pending issues and to give guarantees which would regulate relations between the two neighbouring countries,” Mr Maliki’s office said in a statement. The US has urged Turkey, one of its key allies in the region, not to attack northern Iraq. But US-Turkish relations have taken a turn for the worse amid moves in Congress to recognise the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 as genocide. Turkish military commanders have been clamouring for action after dozens of soldiers and civilians were killed in recent weeks by fighters from the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK). Turkey has long complained about the inability or unwillingness of the US and Iraq to rein in the estimated 3,000 Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq.
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As Mr Hashemi headed to Turkey, the head of the UN’s refugee agency warned that an incursion could worsen the region’s refugee problem. “I can only express our very deep concern about any development that might lead to meaningful displacements of populations in that sensitive area,” said Antonio Guterres, the UN high commissioner for refugees. On a visit to the EU, he also urged western nations to help Syria and Jordan cope with an influx of 4 million Iraqi refugees, and appealed to the EU not to close its borders to Iraqi asylum seekers. The UN fears a Turkish cross-border offensive against Kurdish rebels could force thousands more people to flee northern Iraq. “The northern governates, or Kurdistan, or whatever you want to call that area, has been the most stable area in Iraq,” Mr Guterres said. “It is an area also where you will find Iraqis from the south and from central Iraq that went there to seek security, and of course we strongly hope that this relative security in Kurdistan will not be affected.”

Tuesday October 16 200717:00 GMT
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Chávez cements ties with Castro in growing anti-US alliance
Peter Walker and agencies Tuesday October 16, 2007 Guardian Unlimited

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Tuesday October 16 200717:00 GMT
textConfig; } The pair agreed on a series of trade-related deals in Havana yesterday, in areas ranging from oil production to tourism. Venezuela and Cuba “can form a confederation of republics, two republics in one, two countries in one”, Mr Chávez said. At the weekend, the Venezuelan president met Fidel Castro, the 81-year-old Cuban leader whose long convalescence from serious illness has seen him temporarily replaced by his 76year-old brother, Raul, since last year. The Cuban leader has not been seen in public since reportedly undergoing surgery for an unknown complaint. In a videotape of the Saturday meeting, the elder Mr Castro looked somewhat frail but was alert and in good spirits. He also joined Mr Chávez by telephone on Sunday as the Venezuelan leader hosted his weekly live television and radio show, Alo, Presidente!, from the central Cuban city of Santa Clara. The pair discussed the legacy of the Cuban revolutionary figure Che Guevara. Mr Chávez is in the country to mark the 40th anniversary of Guevara’s killing. The new trade deal is part of Mr Chávez’s push for a so-called Bolivarian trading zone, also comprising Bolivia and Nicaragua, and intended as an alternative to US free trade pacts. Yesterday, the US state department spokesman, Tom Casey, said he was “delighted that Fidel Castro has had an opportunity to discuss things with his good friend President Chávez”, adding: “It’s too bad that in almost half a century of misrule in Cuba, he’s never had the same conversation with his own people.”

Pakistan agrees border ceasefire, tribal elder says
Peter Walker and agencies Tuesday October 16, 2007 Guardian Unlimited

Pakistan has agreed to a ceasefire with militants near the country’s border with Afghanistan after battles last week that killed around 250 people, a tribal elder said today. The deal would see soldiers end operations around the North Waziristan region in return for an assurance that local tribes would not let foreign militants base themselves in the area, said the head of a tribal council, Faizullah Khan. “A temporary ceasefire has been agreed and four army checkpoints in the area have been removed,” he was quoted by the AFP news agency. A local intelligence official said troops had begun withdrawing today from a series of checkpoints between Miran Shah, the main town in North Waziristan, and Mir Ali, the town at the centre of the recent fighting. A curfew imposed in Mir Ali last week had also been lifted, he added. However, an army spokesman said while the military had reopened some roads the ceasefire was not yet confirmed. “There is no ceasefire as such. They [tribal elders] have made a request and it will be considered today,” Major General Waheed Arshad said. In the fiercest fighting in the region for years, the military used jet fighters and artillery to bombard suspected militant
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positions in Mir Ali and surrounding villages last week. According to the army, around 200 militants and almost 50 troops died. Some local people said, however, that dozens of civilians were among the dead. Most of the fighting ended last week, after the start of talks and the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan. Pakistan’s president, General Pervez Musharraf — who gained a new term in office in a controversial electoral college vote earlier this month — faces pressure from Washington to tackle militants linked to al-Qaida in the largely lawless tribal regions near the Afghan border. US officials have expressed concern that al-Qaida took advantage of a September 2006 peace deal in North Waziristan to regroup.

Tuesday October 16 200717:00 GMT
The man’s face was initially disguised behind a digitalised swirl but German police managed to rebuild an image of him and released four reconstructed photos last week. Interpol said that more than 350 people supplied information to authorities worldwide after the appeal. Officials are still collecting and analysing evidence to bring charges if the suspect is arrested, it said. Mr Neil’s date of birth, passport number, and current and previous places of work had also been established, Interpol said. “Thailand is at the centre of an international manhunt, and authorities in the country, in cooperation with Interpol and police around the world, are hunting him down,” the Interpol secretary general, Ronald Noble, said yesterday. Cambodian police alerted border authorities to look out for the suspect after a request from Interpol. “We have issued the alert in case that person tries to enter Cambodia through any of the international checkpoints on Cambodia-Thai borders,” said Keo Vanthan, a senior police official in charge of Cambodia’s Interpol division. He said police were investigating whether the suspect had previously entered Cambodia. The case marks Thailand’s latest high-profile paedophile manhunt. John Mark Karr, who confessed to killing the six-year-old American beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, was arrested in Bangkok last year, only to be freed for lack of corroborating evidence. He taught English at several schools in Bangkok.

Thai police name suspected web paedophile
Mark Tran and agencies Tuesday October 16, 2007 Guardian Unlimited

US presses Palestinians and Israel to find common ground
A composite picture of the suspected paedophile, Christopher Paul Neil taken from the Interpol website. Photograph: Reuters A suspected paedophile pictured on websites sexually abusing young boys has been identified as a 32-year-old Canadian, it emerged today. Thai police named him as Christopher Paul Neil after a worldwide appeal by Interpol using reconstructed images of his face. Interpol had more than 200 internet photos of the suspect abusing boys in Thailand and Cambodia, but his face had been digitally disguised until experts in Germany rebuilt the photos. The English language teacher is thought to be on the run in Thailand. Interpol said security cameras documented his arrival at immigration on Thursday. He had apparently been working as an English language teacher in South Korea. “We believe he is still in Thailand and we are now collecting information from neighbouring countries where he committed crimes of paedophilia so we can issue an arrest warrant for him,” said Colonel Apichart Suribunya, of the Thai police. Police have been hunting the man for three years, ever since German police found online pictures of him abusing under-age Asian boys. The suspect was allegedly shown sexually abusing 12 Vietnamese and Cambodian boys, apparently ranging in age from six to their early teens.
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• Rice speaks to Abbas and Olmert before conference • Envoy says UN should consider leaving Quartet
Ian Black, Middle East editor Tuesday October 16, 2007 The Guardian

The US yesterday urged Israel and the Palestinians to work to overcome their differences before an international conference next month even as a top UN expert lambasted the “Quartet” of Middle East peacemakers for failing to promote Palestinian rights. Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, travelled to the West Bank town of Ramallah to try to persuade the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to narrow gaps with Israel on a “declaration of principles” for the conference, provisionally scheduled to be held in Annapolis, Maryland, sometime next month. Earlier she held talks with the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, who generated headlines by signalling that outlying Arab areas of Jerusalem could be surrendered in an agreement with Mr Abbas. Until recently, the question of dividing Jerusalem — annexed after the 1967 war — was a taboo in Israeli politics, and it remains hugely divisive. There were “legitimate questions” about some of these suburbs, he said. But the issue of the city’s
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holy sites has yet to be tackled. “Frankly it is time for the establishment of a Palestinian state,” Ms Rice said. “The US sees the establishment of a Palestinian state, a two-state solution, as absolutely essential to the future... We have got quite a long time to go but we are not going to tire until I have given my last ounce of energy and my last moment in office.” It is still far from clear, however, whether the Annapolis conference will go ahead. Arab states have said they do not want to attend if it is just a “photo-opportunity.” Officials on all sides have hinted that the event could be postponed or cancelled if a positive outcome could not be assured. Palestinians say failure would undermine Mr Abbas and could trigger a new intifada. And amid the wrangling, there was a reminder of the gap between rhetoric and reality on the ground with a warning from John Dugard, the UN’s special rapporteur on the rights of the Palestinians. “Every time I visit, the situation seems to have worsened,” the retired South African law professor said in a BBC Radio interview. “This time, I was very struck by the sense of hopelessness among the Palestinian people.” Mr Dugard attributed this to “the crushing effect of human rights violations”, and to Israeli restrictions on Palestinians’ freedom of movement. Israel did face a security threat but “its response is very disproportionate”. He said the purpose of some of the hundreds of Israeli checkpoints or barriers in the West Bank was to break it up “into a number of cantons and make the life of Palestinians as miserable as possible”. Mr Dugard suggested the UN should leave the Quartet unless it adopted a more proactive approach to protecting Palestinian rights. The grouping is composed of the UN, US, EU and Russia. The UN “does itself little good by remaining a member of the Quartet”. It is “not playing the role of an objective mediator that behoves it”. Mr Dugard’s comments echoed a complaint by a former UN envoy, Álvaro de Soto, in a report leaked to the Guardian in June. At the heart of the issue is whether the international community should be boycotting the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which won free elections in 2006 and took over the Gaza Strip this June, effectively splitting the occupied Palestinian territories in half and vastly complicating already difficult efforts to revive the peace process. The Quartet, now represented by Tony Blair, is backing the government of Mr Abbas, the Fatah leader, and his prime minister, Salam Fayyad. The Quartet position is that Hamas is a terrorist organisation which will remain off limits unless it renounces violence, recognises Israel and accepts existing peace agreements. Critics say boycotting Hamas is collective punishment that is causing untold suffering in Gaza and ignoring the free will of the Palestinians who voted for the movement. The UN “should be playing the role of the mediator”, Mr Dugard said. “Instead the international community has given its support almost completely to one faction — to Fatah,” he added.

Tuesday October 16 200717:00 GMT

Japan turns economic screw on Burma
Ian MacKinnon, south-east Asia correspondent Tuesday October 16, 2007 Guardian Unlimited

Burmese soldiers take their position to quell protesters in Rangoon. Photograph: AP Burma’s military regime came under further economic pressure today after Japan halted aid for a multimillion-pound humanitarian project in protest at the bloody suppression of last month’s pro-democracy protests. The cut in grants by one of the Asian regions most influential players followed the EU’s decision to toughen sanctions, and signals from the US that it will shortly stiffen its measures against the junta’s leadership. Japan, once Burma’s largest aid donor, said it had decided to cut funding in response to international outrage over the crackdown. It hoped the move would encourage the regime to change course and move towards democracy. Tokyo had been considering its course of action since the killing of a Japanese video journalist, Kenji Nagai, at the height of the protests. Film of the killing appeared to show him being shot at close range by a soldier. Japan’s foreign minister, Masahiko Komura, said Japan was cancelling a £2.3m grant it had been discussing with the Burmese regime for a business education centre at Rangoon’s university. ‘The Japanese government needs to show our stance,” the minister said. “We cannot take action that would effectively support the military regime at this moment.” The funding cut represents only a small proportion of the £13m in humanitarian aid the Japanese government gave to the regime last year, but the minister said further grants would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis in future. Japan, which until 1998 was Burma’s largest donor, remains one of the pariah nation’s biggest humanitarian aid backers. But it suspended low-interest loans for big infrastructure projects in 2003 in protest at the rearrest of the opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been detained for 12 of the last 18 years. The significance of today’s move is that Japan, unlike the EU and US, has largely stuck by the generals over the years, refraining from imposing sanctions. The shift sends a strong symbolic message to the Burmese leadership, and may yet encourage countries of the neighbouring Association of South-East Asian Nations, which numbers Burma among its members and opposes sanctions, to adopt a stronger stance. The Thai prime minister, Surayud Chulanont, proposed
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a UN-backed regional forum on Burma, bringing south-east Asia together with India and China, the two countries with the greatest potential influence on the junta.

Tuesday October 16 200717:00 GMT
During his time in office, Mr Hu said the number of rural poor had fallen from 250 million to 20 million, the military had been modernised and the first Chinese astronauts had ventured into space. But, after record levels of protests in the countryside, he admitted that the party had struggled to keep pace with the rapid changes in society. “While recognising our achievements, we must be well aware that they still fall short of the expectations of the people,” he said. “The governance capability of the party falls somewhat short of the need to deal with the new situation and tasks.” Among the problems he identified were weak grass-roots organisations, excessive bureaucracy, and waste and corruption by a “small number of party cadres”. Last year, 8,310 members were punished for accepting bribes, but that figure accounts only for those who were caught and corruption is endemic. Mr Hu used the 135-minute speech to amplify his theory of a “scientific outlook on development”, which will be written into the party charter. It represents a change of focus from quantity to quality in national governance, and from revolution to plutocracy in party ideology. Instead of merely aiming for high growth, it emphasises sustainability and social harmony. “Our economic growth is realised at an excessively high cost of resources and the environment,” Mr Hu noted. He made his speech in front of a giant hammer and sickle symbol. But decades after the semi-religious reverence of Mao Zedong, the former hydro-engineer relies less on ideology and charisma and more on asserting his qualities as a pragmatic manager. Mao’s theory of class struggle, he said, was an erroneous theory. Mr Hu held out an olive branch to Taiwan. “We would like to make a solemn appeal: On the basis of the one-China principle, let us discuss a formal end to the state of hostility between the two sides, reach a peace agreement,” he said. “We are willing to make every effort with the utmost sincerity to achieve peaceful reunification of the two sides and will never allow anyone to separate Taiwan from the motherland in any name or by any means.” Taiwan’s government rejected the overture as “devoid of significance”. At the end of the congress, the party will unveil a new lineup of the standing committee of the politburo, China’s most powerful political body. Mr Hu will promote several supporters, but given the influence of his predecessor Jiang Zemin and the need to balance factional interests, he is also expected to make compromises that would have been undreamed of by past leaders.

Growth is not our only goal, Hu tells Chinese
• Sustainability and cutting inequality high on agenda • Few political reforms in speech at party congress
Jonathan Watts in Beijing Tuesday October 16, 2007 The Guardian

The Chinese president, Hu Jintao, delivers his speech to the 17th Communist party congress in Beijing. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA President Hu Jintao admitted yesterday that China’s Communist party had failed to live up to the expectations of the people and promised a more sustainable and accountable policy of development. In a speech that will set China’s direction for the next five years, Mr Hu spoke of the need to address the problems of environmental degradation, political corruption and income inequality between the rich cities on the eastern seaboard and villages in the poor western interior. Mr Hu was speaking at the opening of the 17th Communist party congress — the most important political event in China since the last congress in 2002 — at a time when the leader’s words have never carried more weight in the outside world. Boasting of an average growth rate of more than 10% a year since taking power, Mr Hu vowed to continue the reforms that had pushed China past Britain to become the fourth biggest economy. “To stop or reverse reform and opening up would only lead to a blind alley,” he warned. In the political sphere, he held out the prospect of only limited changes, none of which would challenge the one-party system. An expansion of “inner party democracy” will give 73 million party members more opportunities to vote on policy and leadership, introduce a tenure system for delegates to congress and make the decision making process more open to scrutiny. For most of the 1.3 billion population, there was no clear timetable for an expansion of accountability beyond choosing village chiefs, the lowest level of government. “Citizens’ participation in political affairs will expand in an orderly way,” he said. “Power must be exercised in the sunshine to ensure that it is exercised correctly.”
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