Laos Prime Minister Bounnyang Vorachit says his country will allow foreign diplomats and aid workers to travel to the country's restive areas. In an interview with Reuters, Mr. Bounnyang denied allegations by human rights groups that Laos discriminates against the country's ethnic minorities, insisting they are treated well.
He declined to comment on a recent Amnesty International report, accusing Lao government troops of killing and mutilating five Hmong children in May. A Lao Foreign Ministry spokesman previously denied the allegations, saying video evidence about the attack may have been staged.
Iraq's interim Prime Minister, who speaks at the U.N. General Assembly today (Friday), says he will ask Secretary-General Kofi Annan to clarify his recent comment that there can be no credible elections in Iraq in January unless the security situation improves. Earlier Thursday, Mr. Allawi and President Bush both said they expect the vote to take place as scheduled, despite ongoing violence.
China has invited several well-known pro-democracy advocates from Hong Kong to visit Beijing for the mainland's National Day celebrations next week. Hong Kong media and lawmakers say about 10 pro-democracy figures were invited to next Thursday's celebrations marking the (55th) anniversary of the People's Republic of China.
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