1. Archive

Former KGB, Communist chief takes over in ex-Soviet republic

With a rebel army poised 60 miles outside Baku and threatening to attack the capital, Azerbaijani lawmakers Tuesday elected their old Communist leader and former KGB head to rescue their new nation from the brink of civil war.

Bringing about probably the most amazing political comeback of the post-Soviet era, the National Assembly elected as its chairman Geidar Aliyev, 70, who served in Stalin's secret police, ran Azerbaijan's KGB and then its Communist Party, and was sacked from the Soviet Politburo by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.

Aliyev, who is enormously popular here, was seen as the only leader with the stature and experience to shore up the flailing government and make peace with a rebel army commander who has seized nearly a quarter of Azerbaijan's territory.

The rebel push toward Baku grew so threatening Tuesday that some U.S. Embassy and oil company employees began to evacuate their families from the Azerbaijani capital.

"Let there be no doubt about my purpose," Aliyev said in his acceptance speech. "I will devote the time God has left me to protect the independence of Azerbaijan and promote the rule of law, democratic pluralism and the development of a market economy."

The rebels are led by Surat Huseynov, a former army colonel angered by his demotion earlier this year by President Abulfaz Elcibey. He is demanding the removal of Elcibey and his entire Cabinet _ and already has succeeded in forcing the resignation of the prime minister and speaker of parliament.

Separatist move

in Cambodia fails

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia _ A secessionist movement that threatened to defy the results of Cambodia's national elections collapsed Tuesday, removing a roadblock from the country's path to democracy.

Prime Minister Hun Sen issued a statement from Kompong Cham, one of seven provinces whose loyalty to the government was in jeopardy, insisting the entire region was back under Phnom Penh's control.

The rebellion fell apart after its leader fled to Vietnam, improving chances that bickering over installing a new national leadership could be resolved.

In New York, the 15-member U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution instructing all Cambodian parties to cooperate in assuring a smooth transition to a new government. It hailed the efforts of Prince Norodom Sihanouk, the head of state, in "promoting cooperation" among Cambodians.

Middle East talks

resume in U.S.

WASHINGTON _ The Middle East peace talks reconvened Tuesday with little change in the roles the parties carved out at the end of the last round of discussions.

The Palestinians were pessimistic. The Israelis seemed to be grasping for any sign that progress toward peace was being made. The other Arab delegations were waiting to see what would happen between the Israelis and Palestinians. And the Americans were scrambling behind the scenes to find a formula to push the process forward.

In the opening session between the Palestinians and Israelis on Tuesday, the two sides agreed to establish a working group that would try to reach a compromise on a set of principles outlining what would be Palestinian rule in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. At the end of the last round of talks, U.S. mediators had failed to get the two sides to reach agreement on such a document.

Aid workers going

back to Mogadishu

MOGADISHU, Somalia _ Seven relief agencies agreed Tuesday to return their aid workers to the Somali capital today, a week after they were evacuated ahead of a U.N. military offensive.

Officials said U.N. special envoy Jonathan Howe briefed 15 staff members of several non-governmental organizations on the security situation in the city after air raids against warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid.

Their return could be the clearest sign yet that the United Nations was not planning more military strikes soon.

Aid workers were evacuated to neighboring Kenya ahead of the bombing raids on Aidid, who was blamed for the June 5 killings of 23 Pakistani peacekeepers.

Nigerian election

thrown into doubt

ABUJA, Nigeria _ Nigeria's move away from military rule was threatened Tuesday when a federal court ordered a halt to election results that had a publishing tycoon leading in the race to become the country's first civilian president in a decade.

Abuja High Court, the nation's second-highest, granted an injunction requested by supporters of the present military regime of President Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. The ruling halts release of election results because the campaigns may have been corrupt.

Babangida's dictatorship controls the courts, and some Nigerians accuse it of orchestrating these wrangles as an excuse to create chaos and stay in power.

Partial results from Saturday's election gave 55-year-old billionaire Moshood K.

O. Abiola victory in 12 of Nigeria's 30 states, plus the district of Abuja, the nation's administrative capital.

His competitor, wealthy industrialist Bashir Othman Tofa, 46, won in three states, the electoral commission said.

Babangida has promised to hand over power on Aug. 27.

Japanese cities

rank costliest

GENEVA _ The Japanese cities of Tokyo and Osaka are far and away the most expensive cities for foreigners who spend dollars, according to a survey Tuesday.

The survey, published twice a year by the private consulting firm Corporate Resources Group, is based on a basket of 151 products including food, clothing and transportation but not housing. It uses New York as its base of 100, putting that city 33rd on the list.

Tokyo had an index of 192 and Osaka 180. At the bottom of the list of 99 cities were Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, and Bombay, India with ratings of 67.