Volume 1, Number 3
Sha`ban, 1417/December, 1996
Refugees Flee Fighting in Northern Afghanistan

ALMATY - Tens of thousands of people have fled fighting in northwest Afghanistan between troops of the ousted government and the Taliban militia, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported in late November. The agency said between 40,000 and 50,000 people had fled fighting which broke out last month between the forces of Uzbek Abdul Rashid Dostam, who backs the ousted government, and the Taliban. The refugees are mainly located in Herat - on Afghanistan’s border with Iran and Turkmenistan - and Badghis, on the border with Turkmenistan, a UNHCR envoy said from Ashkhabad, the Turkmen capital.

Britain, United Arab Emirates Sign $2.5 Billion Military Pact

ABU DHABI - The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Britain on November 28, signed a military pact which paves the way for British arms sales worth 2.5 billion dollars, the Emirates news agency WAM reported. Defence Secretary Michael Portillo and UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad bin Zayed al-Nahyan signed the massive defence cooperation accord during Portillos three-day visit to the Emirates. The agreement is crucial for Britain’s defence industry, which started to trail France and America in weapons sales across the Gulf region after the 1991 Gulf War, despite a 20 billion deal with Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. and France, which both concluded defence pacts with the UAE some time ago, have won more than 2.5 billion of defence orders from the Gulf state over the past three years. The UAE is one of the most lucrative arms bazaars in the region placing orders worth over 12 billion dollars alone in 1993. Cumulative defence spending during the 1990s was forecast at 20 billion dollars.


Turkish, Israeli Officials Discuss Boosted Defence Cooperation

ANKARA - Senior Turkish and Israeli authorities met in Ankara on Wednesday to discuss ways to boost cooperation in military fields and the defence industry, officials said. An Israeli team headed by David Ivry, director general at the Defence Ministry, had talks with the Turkish Defence Ministry Undersecretary, General Tuncer Kilinc, and representatives of the Turkish defence industry. The visit was part of a consultation mechanism set up by two agreements on defence signed between Turkey and Israel in February. Under it, Israeli pilots have already started training flights in the Turkish air space. The two sides have reached an agreement in-principle that the state-owned Israeli Aircraft Industries would upgrade Turkey’s 54 aging F-4 fighter aircraft though a final contract is yet to be signed.

Pakistan Religious Parties Form Electoral Alliance

ISLAMABAD - Five religious parties will jointly contest the next elections following the ouster of prime minister Benazir Bhutto. The alliance of Muslim parties plan to announce a common manifesto and electoral strategy, said Qazi Hussain Ahmed, leader of the Jamaat-i-Islami. The agreement, which comes ahead of the country’s fourth party-based general election in eight years on February 3, was reached Monday night at a meeting of the heads of the five parties, Ahmed said. The next meeting of the leaders will be held in December to work out an electoral plan on the basis of recommendations from several committees also set up by the leaders .

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