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International brief ~ Israel, Palestinians announce truce

[JURIST] In Tuesday's international brief, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon [official profile] and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas today announced a truce between Israelis and Palestinians. The announcement came at the end of Tuesday's summit at Sharm al-Sheikh, which was also attended by Jordanian King Abdullah II and hosted by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Although no formal document was signed [PNN report], the terms of the cease-fire were announced as a cessation of all violence by Palestinians everywhere, and the ending of all Isreali military actions targetting Palestinians. Sharon also said that the two discussed the security concerns for the return of contested areas in places like the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Both leaders acknowledged that terrorist and insurgent attacks could threaten the process, and called for their people to be willing to allow time for the truce to take effect. Read the text of Sharon's speech [official text]. The Jerusalem Post has local coverage.

In other international legal news ...

  • The Sudan People's Liberation Movement [political party website] opened the first official government offices in what will become the capital city of an autonomous South Sudan. Juba is a southern Sudanese town that had been under military control of the Sudan government [official website]. The SPLM had maintained a covert presence there throughout the two decade civil war, but the rebel movement had constantly lost members to Sudanese military operations in the area. On Tuesday, SPLM officials opened government offices in the town under the new South Sudan flag. While Rumbek is currently the base of government operations in the newly autonomous South, the SPLM plans to eventually make Juba the capital city. The Sudan Tribune has local coverge.

  • Two high ranking members of the ruling party in Zimbabwe [government website] were sentenced Tuesday on charges of selling intelligence information to a foreign nation. The two men, both members of Zanu PF [political party website], the party headed by Zimbabwian President Robert Mugabe, pleaded guilty to the charges in their first court appearance on December 24, 2004. They later claimed the confessions resulted from duress, but were unable to overturn the entrance of the pleas. The court issued sentences, which could reach 20 years incarceration, behind closed doors and ordered counsel not to discuss the sentences with the media. Zimbabwe has alleged that South Africa funded the captured intelligence agent that will be tried later and is accussed of bribing the two Zanu PF officials. News24.com has local coverage.

  • An appeal panel of the Russian Supreme Court [official website in Russian] denied a motion Monday to overturn the 2003 parliamentary elections for the State Duma [government website in Russian]. Members of the Communist and Yabloko parties have challenged the 2003 elections as being unconstitutional due to a lack of information given to voters, along with other infractions of election law. The Russian Supreme Court had previously ruled against a similar motion from the plaintiffs, who had then appealed. MosNews has local coverage.

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