Britain has suggested imposing U.N. sanctions on Iran unless it allays suspicions about its nuclear program, but Russia and China remained at odds with Europe and the United States on Monday night on the best way to confront Tehran.
Senior diplomats from six key nations convened for a 4 1/2-hour meeting to discuss how to persuade Iran to stop enriching uranium. But they still could not overcome Russian and Chinese opposition to tough action in the U.N. Security Council.
The meeting, hosted by British Foreign Office Director John Sawers, occurred hours after a letter came to light detailing Britain’s approach to Iran. The confidential document from Sawers suggested a blend of threats and enticements, starting with a Security Council statement and then moving to a resolution demanding Iran halt uranium enrichment.
The Security Council has scheduled consultations for this afternoon on a controversial proposed council statement urging Iran to abandon uranium enrichment.
Communist rebels step up attacks
Communist rebels attacked an army patrol and a police post and booby-trapped a blocked highway in escalating violence that claimed as many as 17 lives over 24 hours.
Early Monday, Maoist rebels ambushed an army patrol in central Nepal, triggering a shootout that killed at least 13 soldiers and an insurgent near an army camp, the Defense Ministry said. The soldiers were investigating suspicions that rebels had blocked the camp’s water supply when the guerrillas set off an explosion and then fired on the soldiers.
Separately, two civilians were killed by booby-trapped explosives as they cleared a highway of stones and sacks placed by the rebels to block traffic in the area.
Today, rebels attacked the police station at Birtamod, and initial reports said at least one body has been recovered.
In the capital on Monday, about 1,000 pro-democracy activists demanded Gyanendra free political detainees and give up powers he seized last year.
The rebels have fought for a decade to replace the monarchy with a communist government – a conflict that has claimed nearly 13,000 lives.
Blair tries to end financing scandal
The government of Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday proposed banning secret loans to political parties to try to end a financing scandal blamed for sinking Blair’s popularity ratings to record lows.
Charles Falconer, the Cabinet minister in charge of the judiciary, said he would immediately seek to amend campaign finance laws to force political parties to disclose who lends them money. “The system has not been cleaned up enough and we need to change it,” he said.
Blair’s Labor Party said Friday that it had accepted loans worth more than $24 million from unidentified donors. Under British law, political parties must disclose the source of donations, but they do not have to declare the source of loans.
Compiled from wire reports