Rolf Ekeus, head of the United Nations special commission in charge of disarming Iraq, met with Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz in Baghdad in an attempt to avert threatened UN military action against the country. The government of Saddam Hussein has refused to allow UN officials to install cameras at missile-testing sites, stating that it will not permit monitoring unless the world body lifts trade sanctions.
SEEKING SOLID GROUND
Mexico ended a high-seas saga for 658 illegal Chinese immigrants when it agreed to allow their three ships to dock in the port city of Ensenada. Mexican officials said that the boat people would be repatriated to China. On July 7, the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted the rusting boats off Mexico’s Pacific coast, but American officials refused to allow the passengers to land in the United States.
A CLOSER ALLIANCE
Jordan and the Palestine Liberation Organization agreed to form joint committees to discuss ties between Jordan and the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip—the first practical steps towards a future confederation of the kingdom and Palestinians. In 1991, Jordan and the PLO agreed on the principle of a confederation between Amman and whatever independent Palestinian entity emerges from the ongoing peace process, now 20 months old.
LIFTING A BLOCKADE
Serb militiamen eased a two-week fuel blockade of Sarejevo, allowing 75 tons of diesel fuel to be delivered to the besieged Bosnian capital. The tankers’ first stops were the city bakery, a main water-pumping station and the hospital, which desperately needed the fuel to run generators for electricity.
A POLITICAL HOT POTATO
U.S. Defence Secretary Les Aspin presented a compromise report to President Bill Clinton on how best to ease a ban on gays and lesbians in the military. The Aspin plan, being considered by the President, apparently recommends a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, generally approved of by Pentagon brass, which would permit homosexuals to serve in the military provided that they keep their sexual orientation secret. Gay rights activists bitterly oppose the compromise.
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