Sudan Blames U.S.

As Talks on Darfur End

ABUJA, Nigeria -- Sudan's government said Friday that three weeks of peace talks with Darfur rebels had ended without agreement, and it accused the United States of bolstering rebel resolve to avoid compromise.

The government and the rebels are scheduled to return to the negotiating table in a month to try to reach a deal on humanitarian and security issues, said Najib Abdulwahab, the Sudanese minister of state for foreign affairs.

The United States rejected the accusation. The U.S. government has been pressing for U.N. Security Council action against the Islamic government in Khartoum over what it has termed genocide in Sudan's western region of Darfur.

The Security Council called for a vote Saturday on a resolution that would consider oil industry sanctions against Sudan if it did not end atrocities in Darfur.

The talks were designed to end a 19-month conflict in Darfur, scene of what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis, in which about 50,000 people have been killed and more than a million have fled their homes.


* VIENNA -- Roman Catholic officials at a southwestern diocese said they were investigating a second priest accused of molesting youths, deepening a series of sex scandals that have rocked the church in Austria.

Bishop Klaus Kueng, dispatched by the Vatican to investigate the discovery of a vast cache of child pornography at a seminary in another diocese, said an internal investigation of alleged abuse within the Feldkirchen diocese now included a second priest.

* LEEDS CASTLE, England -- A deal taking shape in negotiations on Northern Ireland's future would require the outlawed Irish Republican Army to resume disarmament and for the first time issue a statement that definitively renounced violence.

In return, Sinn Fein, the political party linked to the IRA, is demanding an ironclad commitment from the Democratic Unionists, the major British Protestant party, to form and sustain a joint administration.

* MOSCOW -- Col. Yuri Budanov, a Russian officer who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for kidnapping and murdering a Chechen woman he accused of being a sniper, was pardoned by a regional amnesty commission.


* SEOUL -- South Korea's latest assessment of a widely reported explosion in North Korea last week is that there was no blast at all at the suspected site, a deputy minister said.

Seismic signals and strange cloud formations picked up last week were not from an explosion, said the deputy minister of unification, Rhee Bong Jo.


* MEXICO CITY -- President Vicente Fox and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi signed a free-trade agreement that both countries see as a bridge to greater commerce around the world. The deal, signed in Mexico's ornate National Palace, is Japan's second free-trade pact -- the first was with Singapore -- while Mexico has now signed 12 agreements with 43 countries.

* LA PAZ, Bolivia -- Bolivia's government hopes to spend $1 billion to help cut coca leaf cultivation in the next five years, but it will depend on international aid for most of funds it needs.

* MONTERREY, Mexico -- Revised U.S. government figures show an 11.5 percent rise in migrant deaths this year along the part of the U.S.-Mexico border where illegal crossings are most common.

U.S. Border Patrol figures for Arizona, a desert corridor accounting for about 40 percent of all undocumented migration from Mexico, reported 165 deaths since Oct. 1.

-- From News Services