Sudan, where prospects for peace had looked so promising for much of 2003, has become a potential horror story in 2004. The rapid onset of war in its western region of Darfur has created one of the world's worst humanitarian crises - thousands dead and some 830,000 uprooted from homes.
Pakistan's military government launched a campaign for political devolution in 2000 that it said was aimed at transferring administrative and financial power to local governments.
Uzbekistan occupies a key strategic position in Central Asia and has a strong security relationship with the U.S. but its political system is highly repressive and its economy is barely reformed since Soviet times.
In February 2004, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the major insurgent group, announced creation of a three-member negotiation commission and a "diplomatic offensive" aimed at obtaining the release of hundreds of its imprisoned members in exchange for about 60 military and political hostages it holds.
For much of its history, Israel has focused on the neighbouring Arab states and Palestinians living in the occupied territories. Too often overlooked has been the status of those Israeli citizens who are Arab.
Each side’s most preferred solution for resolving the continuing Taiwan Strait issue – in the case of Taipei, widely recognised de jure independence; and in the case of Beijing, reunification of China on the same ‘one country, two systems’ basis as Hong Kong – are both non-starters.
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