Sarkozy Says Military Confrontation in Iran Would Be 'Catastrophic,' Urges Diplomacy

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sarkozy Says Military Confrontation in Iran Would Be 'Catastrophic,' Urges Diplomacy

PARIS -- French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned that it would be "catastrophic" to resort to military force in confronting Iran over its suspected nuclear program.

"For me, Iran having a nuclear weapon is unacceptable," Sarkozy said in his first foreign policy address, but he stressed that he opposed an attack on the Islamic regime and urged that the West rely on diplomacy.

Iran can choose between dialogue with the international community or more U.N. sanctions, he said, adding that Iran is entitled to use nuclear power for civilian needs, such as generating electricity.

THE MIDDLE EAST

? JENIN, West Bank -- Palestinian police rescued an Israeli soldier after he mistakenly drove into the West Bank town of Jenin and was surrounded by a mob that later burned his car. Israel praised the rescue as a sign of the growing strength of Palestinian moderates.

The rescue stood in sharp contrast to an incident seven years ago in which two Israeli army reservists strayed into the West Bank city of Ramallah. Palestinian police captured them and took them to a police station. A mob stormed the station and killed the two, throwing one body from a second-story window as news photographers took pictures.

? RAMALLAH, West Bank -- The Palestinian government has ordered the closure of more than 100 institutions in the West Bank and Gaza, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said, in an apparent crackdown against Hamas, a militant organization known as the Islamic Resistance Movement.

It was unclear how Fayyad's government would carry out the edict in Gaza, which Hamas has ruled since violently taking over the territory in June, destroying a Palestinian power-sharing government. Fatah, a secular party that has the backing of the Bush administration, was swept from power by a Hamas victory in a 2006 parliamentary election.

AFRICA

? KAMPALA, Uganda -- A truck carrying soldiers and their families overturned in eastern Uganda, killing 72 people and injuring 40 others, the army spokesman said.

? CAIRO-- The head of CARE International's operations in Sudan, Paul Barker, was expelled after a year of directing one of the biggest private aid efforts in the Darfur region, the organization said. In the past week, Sudan also expelled the top Canadian diplomat and the European Commission envoy for what the government described as "meddling in its affairs."

ASIA

? TOKYO -- Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, reshuffled the cabinet and ruling party leadership, adding experienced conservatives as he attempted to regroup after a humiliating electoral defeat. Abe mined the cabinets of his predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi.


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