Saturday, January 31, 1998

After mtg. with Secy. of State Albright, UK FM Robin Cook says Britain is urging the UNSC to find Iraq in violation of its obligations to the council, saying such a res. would provide legal, international support for U.S. attack. At the same time, the UN should consider quadrupling the oil-for-food program to demonstrate that UN is not trying to punish ordinary Iraqis. (NYT 2/1) (see 1/30)

Secy. of State Albright arrives in Israel for dinner mtg. with PM Netanyahu to follow up on 1/20 Netanyahu-Clinton mtg.; say that she is frustrated both sides' failure to make tough decisions, that U.S. is likely to abandon mediation if Israel "continues to display a stubborn and uncompromising attitude toward the Palestinians." (NYT 2/1; NYT, WP 2/2; HA, YA 2/2 in WNC 2/4; CSM, MM, NYT 2/3; MEI 2/13)

PLO Exec. Comm. passes by voice vote the list of PLO charter clauses that have been rescinded as given to U.S. Pres. Clinton 1/22, UK PM Blair 1/26. Israel says voice vote is not "sufficient." (ITV 1/31, IDF Radio 2/1 in WNC 2/4; MM 2/2, 2/4)

Lebanese army operation against Tufayli (see 1/30) carries into the early morning hours. At dawn, Tufayli and his men flee the school, take refuge in the nearby village of Britel. The army seals the town to search for Tufayli, allowing residents to leave but no one to enter. The 2 days of clashes leave 4 Tufayli supporters, 3 soldiers, 1 civilian dead; at least 50 wounded. By the end of the day, Tufayli escapes, but 14 of his men are arrested. Government says Tufayli faces charges of endangering the country, killing soldiers and civilians, forming an armed group. (RL, RMC, VOL 1/31, RL 2/1 in WNC 2/4; NYT, WT 2/1; MM 2/2; MEI 2/13)