Howard Philpott (BBC News): “British government ministers have defended the decision by police in London to arrest the former Chilean military leader General Augusto Pinochet. The Trade and Industries Secretary Peter Mandelson dismissed a protest by the Chilean government that the General had diplomatic immunity. Mr. Mandelson said the idea that a brutal dictator should have such immunity was repugnant.”
So the diplomatic skirmishes heated up on this day in 1998. British police arrested former Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet while he was in London seeking medical treatment. The Spanish government wanted him because apparently there were a number of Spanish nationals among the 3,000 murdered during Pinochet's rule and the Spanish government wanted to ask questions. The whole thing would erupt in a game of tug-of-war which also got former Prime Minister attempting to intervene on Pinochet's behalf, citing her long-running friendship with the dictator, claiming he was a harmless old man.
In other news this day, both President Clinton and vice-President Gore were working with Middle-East negotiators to try and work out yet another in an endless series of peace settlements. Events in the Congo was threatening security in the region. UN Peace keepers were getting ready to arrive in Kosovo. Afghanistan was going through continued skirmishes with the Taliban as attacks increased against government forces just north of Kabul. And there was Chechnya to consider.
All in all, another day in another year and it all seems terribly the same in places. Just the players are different.