Pope Appeals for Peace in Caucasus
TBILISI, Georgia--Pope John Paul II, on his first visit to the turbulent Caucasus region, issued a joint appeal yesterday with the head of Georgia's Orthodox Church for peace in an area long wracked by violent conflicts.
But the pontiff's plea for an ecumenical dialogue between churches drew a muted if not hostile reaction in Georgia, one of the world's oldest Christian countries.
The pope and Patriarch Ilya II referred in their statement to fighting in Chechnya, where Russian troops are battling Islamic separatists, and to two other trouble spots in the former Soviet Union--Nagorno-Karabakh, disputed by Armenia and Azerbaijan, and Abkhazia, a breakaway province inside Georgia.
Georgia Reelects Governing Party
TBILISI, Georgia--President Eduard Shevardnadze's governing Citizens' Union bloc won an outright majority in Georgia's parliamentary election, according to official results.
Election official Georgy Zeshashvili said the Citizens' Union won 41.75 percent in voting by party lists for the 225-member assembly in the former Soviet republic on the Black Sea. That figure, plus results from single-member districts, was enough for an outright majority, though it was unclear how many seats the bloc would receive pending the outcome of runoff contests on Nov. 14.
Weather Slows Russians In Chechnya
ON THE CHECHEN-INGUSH BORDER, Russia--Bad weather slowed Russia's advance into Chechnya, and Moscow faced new Western demands to rein in its campaign against Islamic guerrillas and work toward a negotiated settlement.
More refugees poured out of the separatist region, but still had to wait hours to pass through the sole checkpoint kept open by Russian authorities into the impoverished adjoining region of Ingushetia.
From the border checkpoint, heavy artillery fire could be heard hitting the western Chechen stronghold of Bamut. But Russia's NTV television, in a live broadcast from the region in the North Caucasus, showed snow falling and said the conditions were hampering Russian aviation and weaponry.
In Washington, the United States said Russian forces had failed to observe the Geneva Conventions and other international agreements through the indiscriminate use of force against civilians in Chechnya.
Greek Protesters Oppose Clinton Visit
ATHENS--Thousands of demonstrators demanding that President Clinton cancel a visit to Athens attended a mock trial here condemning U.S. foreign policy. Standing beneath umbrellas in a light drizzle, the protesters chanted, "Clinton, butcher of the Balkans, you are unwanted here," and "Americans: Murderers of the peoples."
The protesters later marched to the nearby U.S. Embassy, which was surrounded by hundreds of riot police. After throwing a note containing their symbolic conviction of Clinton and other NATO leaders through the embassy gates, they dispersed peacefully.
Clinton is scheduled to arrive Saturday to begin an 11-day, four-country trip highlighted by a summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Istanbul.
Polish Court Gives Jaruzelski New Trial
WARSAW--Poland's Supreme Court ordered a new trial for former Communist leader Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski and nine other officials accused of ordering police to shoot rioting workers nearly 30 years ago. Forty-four people were killed and about 1,000 injured in the cities of Gdansk, Gdynia, Szczecin and Elblag when the police fired on workers protesting price increases in December 1970. Jaruzelski, now 75, was defense minister at the time.
The court said the trial, which began in March 1996 in the Baltic port city of Gdansk, should start over in the Warsaw District Court. A date was not immediately set.
The ruling was a response to a motion by the Gdansk Provincial Court, where the trial has been delayed repeatedly by the absence of some defendants or their attorneys.
Pakistani Gives No Dates for Democracy
ANKARA, Turkey--Pakistan's military ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, insisted there was no timetable for his country's return to democracy until his goals are achieved.
Musharraf--who last month ousted civilian Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif--used a one-day visit to Turkey to address a range of issues that are under close Western scrutiny.
"What the Western world may be looking for is the label of democracy. . . . Insallah [with God's permission], I will put this label of democracy some time in the near future," Musharraf, speaking in English, said at a news conference.
However, the Pakistani general avoided providing a schedule for a return to democracy.
Strong Quake Shakes Northern Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan--A strong earthquake shook northern Pakistan, including the capital Islamabad, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. A government seismic center in the northwestern city of Peshawar said the quake measured 6 on the Richter scale, strong enough to cause widespread damage, and was centered about 220 miles north of there in the Hindu Kush mountains on the Afghan border.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Now, 10 years after, we see the world does not appear as we had hoped."
-- Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, speaking in Berlin on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall --Page A1
CAPTION: Pope John Paul II lights a candle in the Orthodox Svetitshovely Cathedral in Mtsheta, Georgia. He called for peace in the strife-torn region in a joint statement with local religious leaders.