U.N. investigators concluded in a report released Monday that a Russian fighter jet almost certainly shot down a Georgian reconnaissance drone over the separatist region of Abkhazia last month. The finding supports Georgian assertions that Russia is providing military backing to rebels in the Black Sea enclave.
Russia, which denies involvement in the incident and says the drone was shot down by Abkhaz forces, maintains a peacekeeping force in Abkhazia to enforce a 1994 cease-fire agreement. The region remains a part of Georgia but has enjoyed de facto independence since routing Georgian forces in the early 1990s.
Assembled from video footage from the drone, radar records and witness statements, the U.N. report found that the fighter jet was either a MiG-29 Fulcrum or a Su-27 Flanker, neither of which Abkhazia possesses. The report also said that, after downing the drone, the fighter jet turned north and headed into Russian airspace.
Carter cites Israeli nukes, paper says
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter says Israel has a nuclear arsenal of 150 weapons, the Times of London reported Monday.
While experts have long maintained Israel has a nuclear arsenal, the Jewish state has refused to confirm or deny it.
Most estimates, many based on evidence leaked in 1986 by Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu, put the number of Israeli nuclear weapons at between 100 and 200. But other experts have said the number is as low as 60 or as high as 400.
It was unclear from the newspaper’s account whether Carter was citing those estimates, offering his own independent assessment or drawing on U.S. intelligence he would have had access to as president from 1977 to 1981.
Taiwanese party leader visits China
A top Taiwanese politician arrived in China on Monday for a six-day visit amid hope for warmer relations between the longtime foes.
The head of the island’s ruling party will meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao during a groundbreaking visit that follows the May 20 inauguration of a new Taiwanese president, Ma Ying-jeou, who is eager to fulfill a campaign pledge of improving ties. For China, the visit provides an opportunity ahead of the Olympic Games in August to project itself as a superpower committed to world peace.
Wu Poh-hsiung, who chairs Taiwan’s ruling Kuomintang party, said upon his arrival Monday in the eastern city of Nanjing that the visit could “create a win-win situation.”
The televised arrival ceremony marked the first break in two weeks of nearly 24-hour coverage of China’s May 12 earthquake.
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