Wednesday, February 17, 1999

Israel's Labor party holds its primary in advance of the 5/17 elections. Party Chmn. Ehud Barak takes top position on the slate. (MM, NYT 2/17; CSM 2/18)

Netherlands FM Van Aartsen says Turkey's handling of the Ocalan trial should be a test for Turkey's membership in the European Union (EU). Kurds continue protests in Europe (home to 850,000 Kurdish refugees), Turkey over Ocalan's 2/16 capture. In Berlin, Israeli security guards fire on 100s of protesters who storm the Israeli consulate, killing 3, wounding 16. (MM, NYT, WP, WT 2/18; De Volkskrant, al-Rayah 2/18 in WNC 2/19; Frankfurter Rundschau 2/19 in WNC 2/22; MM 2/22; WJW 2/25)

Syria agrees to pay $500,000 to the U.S. to repair the U.S. emb. in Damascus, damaged 12/19 during protests against the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. U.S. says it considers diplomatic tensions over, will begin resuming visa services (suspended 12/22) on 2/28. (NYT, WP, WT 2/18; MM 2/25)

UN says it will hand over $84 m. to Kuwait for reparations to victims of the 1990 Iraqi invasion. Funds will be taken fr. Iraqi oil exports, which have produced $2.7 b. in compensation payments to date. (NYT 2/18; MEI 2/26)

Israel Defense Force (IDF) blocks Jewish settlers fr. occupying a building in East Jerusalem, which they claim to have bought fr. a Palestinian family. The family denies it sold the building. (JP, PR 2/26)