U.S., Japan Approach

Accord on Former GI

TOKYO -- The United States may delay its request for Japan to hand over Charles Robert Jenkins, U.S. Ambassador Howard H. Baker Jr. said Saturday, clearing the way for the accused U.S. Army deserter to seek medical treatment in Tokyo.

Baker's remarks, made after he met with Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, were the first sign of a tentative accord between Washington and Tokyo over the fate of Jenkins, who allegedly defected to North Korea 39 years ago.

"Foreign Minister Kawaguchi told me that Sgt. Jenkins' medical condition is serious and asked that the United States consider the humanitarian aspects of this case," Baker said in a statement faxed by the U.S. Embassy.

"I acknowledged to Foreign Minister Kawaguchi that the U.S. government is sympathetic to his health condition and that Sgt. Jenkins' medical condition may delay our request for his transfer to U.S. custody."

Jenkins, 64, is scheduled to be whisked to a Tokyo university hospital as soon as he arrives from Indonesia on Sunday evening with his Japanese wife and their two North Korean-born daughters, a Cabinet Office spokesman said.

Asia

* MANILA -- The Philippines said Friday that it was pulling out 11 members of its Iraq peacekeeping mission, the start of a full withdrawal aimed at saving the life of a captive Filipino truck driver.

The government's decision to meet the demands of kidnappers who had threatened to kill the hostage, Angelo de la Cruz, drew sharp criticism from Australia and the United States.

Foreign Secretary Delia Albert said that 11 peacekeepers, including the mission's leader, were leaving for home and that the rest of the force, originally numbering 51, "will be out of Iraq shortly."

Africa

* ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia -- Sudanese rebel groups insisted that the government fulfill a list of previous commitments before opening new peace talks to end fighting in Sudan's western Darfur region, deemed the world's worst humanitarian crisis. Experts said the negotiations were doomed to fail without concerted diplomatic and military pressure.

Europe

* ROME -- Three crew members from a German relief agency ship were released from jail four days after being arrested for allegedly aiding illegal immigration by bringing 37 African asylum seekers to Italy.

The head of Germany's Cap Anamur relief agency, the captain of a ship operated by the group and his Russian first mate were arrested after docking their vessel in Sicily.

A judge ruled that the three should be released, but he also upheld the charges against them, said Antonella Bona, an attorney for the ship's captain, Stefan Schmidt. It was not immediately clear whether prosecutors would pursue the case.

* PARIS -- Former prime minister Alain Juppe resigned from the presidency of France's ruling party, paving the way for a succession battle at the head of President Jacques Chirac's powerful political organization. Juppe, one of Chirac's closest allies, was convicted this year in a corruption case and had agreed to step down from the leadership of the Union for a Popular Movement.

Chirac's finance minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, has been vying for the party leadership, which will be voted on in November. Sarkozy was scheduled to address party members later Friday.

* AMSTERDAM -- Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic's trial on war crimes charges has been postponed until Aug. 31 because of his ill health, the U.N. tribunal in The Hague said. The trial had been scheduled to resume Monday, after four previous delays, but a new medical report indicated that Milosevic's blood pressure was still too high, a court spokesman said.

* ROME -- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi named a top civil servant as his new economy minister in a bid to end weeks of coalition feuding within his center-right government. Treasury Director General Domenico Siniscalco succeeds Giulio Tremonti, who was forced to resign in early July.

-- From News Services