Wednesday, August 25, 1999

PA chief negotiator Erakat delays his trip to Washington to meet with U.S. Secy. of State Madeleine Albright, originally set for 8/26, until 8/27, saying that the PA, Israel appear close to a compromise on the Wye implementation timetable. (MM, NYT 8/26)

In Amman, Jordan, Israel hold technical comm. mtg. to discuss ways of providing Jordan with water directly fr. the Yarmuk River to ease drought effects. (JT 8/25 in WNC 8/27)

Setting aside objections of religious parties, Israeli High Court orders giant electrical components to be moved on the Sabbath to avoid traffic problems. United Torah Judaism threatens to withdraw fr. Barak's ruling coalition in protest. (MM, NYT, WP 8/26; NYT 8/27) (see 8/15)

A group of 13 American scholars working in Iran is ordered to pull out of Tehran 10 days ahead of schedule. Under orders fr. "the highest authorities in Washington," they are ordered to leave on the 1st plane available and are instructed not to discuss their travel plans with Iranian friends, contact anyone to cancel appointments, send e-mail, or call home. U.S. officials refuse to comment, saying the situation is "very sensitive." (WP 9/3, 9/4)

American Arab organizations issue a report documenting a pattern of cases in which the State Dept. did the bare minimum for Arab Americans detained by Israel, but rushed to the aid of non-Arab Americans detained by other foreign governments. (WP 8/26; MM 8/27; al-Riyad 8/28 in WNC 9/1)

The Turkish separatist group, the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), begins to pull out of Turkey a wk. ahead of schedule. Over the past yr., the PKK has suffered major military defeats at the hands of the Turkish military, lost Syria as its patron, suffered the arrest of its leader, Abdallah Ocalan. On 8/5, the party agreed to heed the call of Ocalan, who has been sentenced to death by Turkey, to end its 14-yr. insurgency for self-rule, take its cause to the political arena. (WP 8/26)