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EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Reports
Progress in Talks with Iran

By Judy Dempsey
THE NEW YORK TIMES BERLIN

Javier Solana, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said Thursday that “some important progress” had been made in two days of talks over resolving Iran’s nuclear ambitions and that more talks would be conducted next week.

“We have had the opportunity of being together for several hours and of working with great intensity,” Solana said after the talks with Ali Larijani, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator. “We have made some important progress on the elements related to how the potential negotiations can take place.”

Solana was referring to a package of political, economic and technological incentives that six nations — France, Germany, Britain, the United States, Russia and China — offered Iran in June in return for a suspension of Tehran’s uranium enrichment program.

Diplomats said that reaching the point of negotiations on the incentives depended on establishing a timetable for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment.

“It is now a question of sequencing,” said a European diplomat who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. “This is about Iran specifically agreeing to when it will start suspending its uranium enrichment program.”

Boston Museum Returns 13
Ancient Works to Italy

By Elisabetta Povoledo
THE NEW YORK TIMES ROME

After months of negotiations, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, on Thursday formally turned over 13 archaeological treasures to Italy that cultural officials here say were looted from Italian soil.

At a signing ceremony at the Italian Cultural Ministry, Malcolm Rogers, the Boston museum’s director, pledged his institution’s cooperation in halting plunder in archaeological source countries.

“We’re committed to seeing the end of illegal excavations and the illicit trade in archaeological works of art,” Rogers said. He emphasized that the two sides had formed a collegial relationship. “This is a new era of legality,” he said. “That’s why it’s very important to see the objects here in Rome.”

Although there had been signs in recent weeks that an accord was imminent, the objects involved had not been disclosed. Among them are a majestic statue of Sabina, the wife of the second-century Emperor Hadrian; a marble fragment depicting Hermes from the first century A.D.; and 11 ancient painted vases.

Lifting a white sheet with a flourish to unveil the Sabina, the Italian culture minister, Francesco Rutelli, said the piece would be returned to Tivoli to rejoin “her restless companion” at Hadrian’s Villa.

H.P.’S Chief Lawyer
Resigns, Will Not Testify

By Miguel Helft
and Damon Darlin
THE NEW YORK TIMES WASHINGTON

Hewlett-Packard’s general counsel, Ann O. Baskins, has resigned from the company, and her lawyer said she will not answer questions at the congressional hearing scheduled for Thursday.

As Hewlett-Packard’s chief in-house lawyer, Baskins was one of the key executives supervising the company’s spying operation on its own directors, journalists and others, meant to identify the source of leaks of confidential information to the news media. Revelations about the spying operation prompted the hearing.

The company’s former chairwoman, Patricia C. Dunn, who resigned last week, is expected to testify Thursday. In prepared remarks, she wrote that she worked closely with Baskins and was in regular contact with those conducting the leak inquiry, but was not supervising the inquiry.

The resignation of Baskins, who had been with Hewlett-Packard since 1982, follows the departure of two other company executives, Anthony R. Gentilucci, manager of global investigations, and Kevin Hunsaker, senior counsel and director of ethics. Hunsaker reported directly to Baskins.

A lawyer for Baskins, K. Lee Blalack 2nd of O’Melveny & Myers, said “Ms. Baskins always believed that the investigative methods she knew about were lawful, and she took affirmative steps to confirm their legality.”

Pakistan Faces Charges of
Ties to Terrorists

By Alan Cowell
THE NEW YORK TIMES LONDON

President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan arrived here on Thursday and found himself facing accusations that his country’s intelligence service had indirect ties to al-Qaida and that his government committed widespread human rights abuses as an ally of the United States in its effort to curb terrorism.

He arrived after a rocky visit in Washington, where President Bush used a White House dinner to try to mediate between the Pakistani leader and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan over their mutual accusations of responsibility for the resurgence of the Taliban, Afghanistan’s former rulers.

Although the two leaders did not shake hands in public, Musharraf indicated in remarks broadcast live on Pakistani television on Thursday that some tensions had eased. “The meeting that I held with President Bush and Hamid Karzai last night was very good,” he said, according to The Associated Press. “It was decided that we should have a common strategy. We have to fight terrorism. We have to defeat it, defeat it jointly.”

A report of a leaked document, which said that Pakistan’s intelligence service indirectly supported the Taliban, played into the argument over the growing insurgency in Afghanistan, where both Britain and the United States have sent forces. The document was said by the BBC to have originated in Britain’s Defense Academy, a research agency sponsored by the Ministry of Defense.