News Timeline: June 2004


June 1 – Middle East: IRAQ

Iraq’s new interim government, headed by president Ghazi Yawer, is sworn in during a ceremony in the country’s capital, Baghdad. Fifty-seven mainly Muslim countries from the Organization of the Islamic Conference pledge their support and assistance for Iraq’s new government.

June 1 – International Organizations/Latin America: UNITED NATIONS/HAITI

The United Nations is sending 8,000 peacekeepers to Haiti to replace the U.S.-led multinational force. The troops will be responsible for ensuring security and maintaining peace, training the local police force, and working on development projects. They will also provide assistance to the survivors of a flood that afflicted the country last week. The UN force includes soldiers from 14 countries and is led by Brazilian troops.

June 2 – Middle East: JORDAN

Jordan hosts an international water-management conference, during which it presents its Red Dead Initiative, a plan to save the Dead Sea from extinction. Jordan warns that the Dead Sea, the world’s saltiest body of water, situated at the lowest point on the earth’s surface, will disappear in 50 years unless it is replenished with more water. The plan proposes to redirect two billion cubic meters of water per year from the Red Sea into the Dead Sea.

June 3 – International Organizations/South Asia: MEDICINES SANS FRONTIERES/AFGHANISTAN

The international relief agency, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), suspends its operations in Afghanistan after five of its workers are killed in an ambush in the northwestern part of the country. Recently, the Taliban insurgents have increased attacks on foreigners in Afghanistan.


North Korea and South Korea reach an agreement on reducing military tensions. North Korea agrees to set up a telephone hotline between the rival navies, and to share radio frequencies and visual signals. North Korea also agrees to open new roads through the military buffer zone after its southern neighbor promises to ship 400,000 tons of food aid.

June 4 – Middle East/International Organizations: OPEC

The members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agree to raise quotas to 2 million barrels a day beginning in July and another 500,000 a day beginning in August. It is hoped that this decision will bring down oil prices, which recently reached a record high in the U.S. of $42.45 a barrel. However, the recent terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia proves that the “fear factor” will remain a crucial element of higher oil prices.

June 4 – North America: UNITED STATES

James Pavitt, the CIA deputy director for operations, steps down a day after the resignation of the agency’s director, George Tenet. The intelligence agency has faced months of harsh criticism for not preventing the September 11 attacks and the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

June 7 – North America/East Asia: UNITED STATES/CHINA

The world’s largest car producer, General Motors, announces that it plans to invest over $3 billion and double its capacity in China over the next three years. China is the fastest-growing car market in the world.

June 8 – North America/Latin America: MEXICO/UNITED STATES

The U.S. Supreme Court abolishes the 22-year-old rule that restricted Mexican trucks from entering the United States and thus undermined the NAFTA free-trade agreement. According to the rule, Mexican trucks could enter the U.S. only after a study into their environmental impact. Mexico protested the restrictions, which caused losses of billions of dollars a year.

June 9 – Africa: NiIGERIA

Millions of Nigeria’s workers go on a three-week nationwide strike to protest rising fuel prices. There are fears that an interruption of Nigerian oil production could hike already record-high world oil prices even higher.

June 11 – Latin America: COLOMBIA

The Colombian government changes its tactics in its fight against rebel groups by offering the country’s second-largest faction, the National Liberation Army (ELN), negotiations if the ELN calls a cease-fire. The government wants to strike a separate peace agreement with the ELN, thus separating it from the more powerful Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

June 14 – Africa: MALAWI

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika forms a new cabinet a month after winning disputed elections. Despite the fact that the president’s coalition government includes three members of the opposition Republican Party, its leader, Gwanda Chakuamba, who took the election results to court, did not receive a post. Election observers say there were serious problems in the polling.

June 15 – East Asia/Former Soviet Republics: CHINA/UZBEKISTAN

Chinese President Hu Jintao signs several agreements with Uzbek President Islam Karimov during a state visit in Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent. The agreements cover mostly oil and gas development, as well as China’s other investments in Uzbekistan. China has become one of Uzbekistan’s main trading partners.

June 15 – East Asia/Middle East/North America: CHINA/IRAN/UNITED STATES

A new report from the United States Congress accuses China of supplying Iran with nuclear technology in exchange for oil. The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission declares that China supervised the installation of equipment to enrich uranium in Iran.

June 16 – Middle East/North America: IRAQ/UNITED STATES

The U.S. commission investigating the September 11 terrorist attacks reports that there is no evidence linking Iraq to the al-Qaeda militants who attacked the United States. The conclusion contradicts the Bush administration’s claims that Saddam Hussein had long-established ties with al-Qaeda. These alleged links were part of the justification to invade Iraq.

June 16 – Africa: MADAGASCAR

Civil unrest in Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, enters its tenth day, resulting in hundreds of injuries. The immediate cause that sparked multiple protests has been the high cost of oil. The long-term cause, however, is an ailing economy and a rising cost of living.

June 18 – Europe/Russia and Other Former Soviet Republics: BELARUS/KAZAKHSTAN/KYRGYZSTAN/RUSSIA/TAJIKISTAN/EEC

The leaders of the member-states of the Eurasian Economic Community (EEC) meet in Astana, Kazakhstan, to discuss closer economic integration. They sign a treaty on legislative harmonization and an agreement for cooperation on securities markets. Russian President Vladimir Putin calls the EEC the driving force of integration in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The EEC consists of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.

June 19 – Europe: EUROPEAN UNION

The European Union reaches an agreement on its first constitution after long negotiations focused predominantly on national veto rights and the voting powers of the member states. Now, all EU governments must ratify the constitution; several countries will hold referenda.

June 20 – East Asia: PHILIPPINES

The Philippines congressional committee declares Gloria Arroyo the winner of the presidential race by one million votes after a contentious recount that took six weeks. The opposition contested the election on the grounds of widespread irregularities.

June 21 – Europe: RUSSIA

About 200 Chechen rebels clash with Russian authorities in Chechnya’s neighbor, the Russian Republic of Ingushetia, killing at least 47 people, including regional Interior Minister Abukar Kostoyev. The rebels seize and burn down the interior ministry building in the city of Nazran. They also attack border guards in Nazran, Karabulak, and Sleptsovskaya. Thousands of Russian troops are searching for the rebels.

June 25 – Africa/International Organizations: KENYA/WORLD BANK

The World Bank approves $200 million in grants and loans to Kenya, rewarding its attempts to fight corruption in civil service. Some of the money will be used to improve airport security and for agricultural projects.

June 25 – South Asia/International Organizations: INDIA/WORLD BANK

The World Bank doubles its loans to India to nearly $3 billion a year to develop the country’s infrastructure and alleviate poverty. The funds will be spent on such projects as irrigation, power, water supply, and road building. The World Bank also aims to increase access to education and health care, and improve lives in rural areas. It focuses especially on the three most impoverished states: Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Orissa.

June 27 – Latin America/North America: COLOMBIA/UNITED STATES

U.S. and Colombian authorities break a drug-smuggling network in an operation led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The drug traffickers moved Colombian cocaine from the country’s northern coast across Caribbean islands to Florida.

June 27 – North America/Latin America: MEXICO

Hundreds of thousands of people march silently through the streets of Mexico City to protest against kidnappings and violent crimes as well as to pay tribute to crime victims. Mexico City has the second-highest number of kidnappings in the world, with about 3,000 cases reported annually.

June 27 – Europe/Former Soviet Republics: LITHUANIA

Former Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus wins a second term in an election called to replace impeached President Rolandas Paksas. Adamkus was Lithuania’s president from 1998 to 2003, when Paksas unexpectedly defeated him.

June 28 – South Asia: INDIA/PAKISTAN

India and Pakistan end two-day bilateral talks, which focused on the Kashmir problem and release a statement that they intend to hold more sustained and serious talks to resolve the dispute over the region. Both countries also agree to notify each other before testing missiles and to restore embassies.

June 28 – South Asia/Middle East/International Organizations: AFGHANISTAN/IRAQ/NATO

During a two-day summit in the Turkish city of Istanbul, the 26 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) agree to train the security forces of Iraq’s new interim government. They also decide to expand NATO’s operations in Afghanistan and increase its peacekeeping force to 10,000 troops during the planned September elections.

June 28 – North America/Middle East: UNITED STATES/IRAQ

The United States officially hands over sovereignty to the Iraqi interim government, two days ahead of schedule. During a low-key ceremony in Baghdad, the U.S. administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, Paul Bremer, passes legal documents to an Iraqi judge, and later leaves Iraq.

June 28 – North America/Africa: UNITED STATES/LIBYA

The United States opens a new American liaison office in Libya, thus officially renewing its relations with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s government. The absence of diplomatic relations between the two countries lasted 24 years.

June 28 – North America: CANADA

Canada’s governing Liberal Party loses an absolute majority in the parliamentary elections and is forced to form a coalition with other parties. Prime Minister Paul Martin says his party still has a mandate to govern and can work with other parties on a case-by-case basis. Potential partners include Quebec separatists and the New Democrats.


Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore sign an agreement to tighten security and fight piracy in the Malacca Strait. Each country will provide up to seven patrol boats and share radio frequencies. More than 50,000 ships use the Strait for commercial purposes annually, and just last year 450 ships around the world reported pirate attacks. Almost 100 crew members are dead or missing.

June 29 – International Organizations/Middle East: EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS/TURKEY

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg rules that a Turkish university has the right to ban Muslim headscarves and subsequently rejects the appeal of a Turkish student who argued that the ban violated her freedom of religion. The Turkish government claims that headscarves violate the secular nature of the state. The court’s decision may have implications for other countries.

June 30 – Europe: DENMARK

Denmark takes over the European Union’s six-month rotating presidency. During its leadership, Denmark will focus on the future EU budget, terrorism and European security issues, and the controversial issue of membership negotiations with Turkey.

June 30 – Middle East/North America: IRAQ/UNITED STATES

The United States hands over legal custody of Iraqi former President Saddam Hussein to the new Iraqi interim government. Physically, however, he will stay in U.S. custody until the Iraqi police provide a secure facility. He is expected to be prosecuted on 12 charges, including war crimes and crimes against humanity.

June 30 – Europe/Middle East: RUSSIA/QATAR

A Qatari judge sentences two Russian secret agents to life in prison for killing former Chechen leader Zelimkhan Yanderbiyev in Qatar’s capital, Doha, earlier this year. He also accuses Russia of sponsoring the killing.