Tuesday, January 06, 2004

SURPRISE PROGRESS FOR TALKING OVER FIGHTING -- NIGERIAN MAN FACES STONING
The philosophy "talking is better than fighting" seems to have gained a little ground this week. In Burundi, the only rebel group still fighting the government has agreed to hold peace talks with the country's president. In The Sudan, the government and southern rebels have finalised an agreement on how to share the country's wealth, springing hopes that the country's 20 year civil war might end. In Ivory Coast, rebels have ended their boycott of Ivory Coast's power-sharing government.

In a troubling development, a Nigerian man now faces execution by stoning, as decided by a Sharia court. There was an international outrage last year when a woman was accorded the same sentence, so it will be interesting to see if the same verdict handed to a male provokes the same furor. [For those not familiar with Nigeria, it's a decentralized federal republic in which the states have a high degree of autonomy. Conservative Islam rules in many of the northern states, some of which have adopted Sharia law. The country's federal government opposes the northern states' imposition of Sharia, as do most people in the southern regions, but the federal govt has little authority other than to express its disagreement.]

South Africa's SABC reports that Eritrea rejects new Canadian peace envoy. I guess I don't blame. The previous panel ruled in Eritrea's favor so if that's not going to be respected, then what's the point of another envoy.

The UN's IRIN reports that two factions disarm their own fighters, commanders say. Hopefully, the country's disarmement will proceed without major problems.

Nigerian paper This Day reports that Secretary General Kofi Annan Seeks Funds for Post-Conflict Sierra Leone. The UN chief wants to help the West African nation's military and police "quickly improve their overall capability and project a credible deterrence profile" to help consolidate peace in the country.

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