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MIDDLE EASTPalestinian leader Faisal Husseini said Oct. 1 that he and Hanan Ashrawi, another leading Palestinian, would meet Secretary of State James Baker III again soon to discuss the latest moves toward a Middle East peace conference. This would be their first meeting since the Palestinian parliament-in-exile decided last week to back Baker's efforts to convene the talks. Husseini said he expected the next step to come from the Americans, in the form of a revised letter of assurances on the form and framework of the talks. Jordan is still awaiting the PLO's response to its proposal for a joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation to the conference. PLO chairman Yasser Arafat is reportedly due to arrive in Jordan next week for talks.... Iraq has given the UN final approval to bring in helicopters from Turkey for use by UN ballistic-missile inspectors who left for Baghdad Oct. 1, UN officials in Bahrain said.

UNITED STATES Soviet Foreign Minister Boris Pankin Sept. 30 endorsed a French initiative aimed at holding a nuclear disarmament summit and vowed unilateral cuts of Soviet weapons. "I think the time for this has come ... it's time to say farewell to so-called nuclear deterrence," he said in an interview on PBS's MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. He said Moscow sees the sweeping unilateral nuclear arms cuts announced by President Bush Sept. 27 as a genuine "peaceful challenge," adding that talks may begin Oct. 9 in Washington a t the deputy foreign minister level. US officials said there was a good chance a US delegation would go to Moscow to lay down the president's plan.... The government's Index of Leading Indicators remained unchanged in August after six straight monthly gains, reflecting weakness in areas from construction plans to money supply, the Commerce Department said Oct. 1.... Sen. Bob Kerrey (D) of Nebraska, little known outside his state, Sept. 30 entered the race to become the Democratic presidential nominee.

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AFRICA Soldiers took over Togo's state radio Oct. 1 and broadcast a message saying they had dissolved a transitional civilian government. The soldiers said they were backing military President Gnassingbe Eyadema, most of whose authority was stripped by a national pro-democracy conference in August.... The US is concerned about lack of progress toward a peace settlement in Mozambique, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Herman Cohen said at a news conference in Lison Sept. 30. He noted that after 15 months o f Italian-mediated peace talks between the government and rebels, the two sides had not yet found a firm basis on which to negotiate.

LATIN AMERICA Brazil, out of favor with investors after its privatization program was suspended, devalued its currency Sept. 30 on worries the flow of foreign funds was drying up.

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