- The Washington Times - Friday, December 10, 1999

Old friends in China

Joseph Prueher, the retired admiral who sent U.S. warships into the Taiwan Strait when China was threatening Taiwan in 1996, arrived in China as the new American ambassador Thursday, calling his hosts “old friends.”
Mr. Prueher takes over the position after a tense year of U.S.-Chinese relations that included the accidental U.S. bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia.
“I bring greetings to the people of China from President Clinton,” he said after he and his wife, Suzanne, arrived at Beijing’s new international airport.
“It is important to recognize that the relationship between our two nations is vital to the two nations. Our common interests transcend the things that keep us apart.”
He said leaders of both countries need to engage in “candid, direct dialogue.”
Mr. Prueher said he is looking forward to re-establishing friendships.
“I look forward to seeing many Chinese officials whom I consider my lao pengyou,’ ” he said, using a phrase meaning “old friends,” which Chinese leaders frequently use to greet visiting officials.
Mr. Prueher replaces former Sen. James Sasser, who ended his term after mobs besieged the U.S. Embassy in May to protest the NATO campaign in Yugoslavia and the bombing of the embassy. Mr. Sasser left China in July.

Kuwaiti poster girl

The Kuwaiti Embassy is heralding the promotion of a woman to a high-ranking government position in the aftermath of the Kuwaiti parliament’s refusal to approve political rights for women.
“The move is certain to be interpreted as a response to last week’s rejection by the National Assembly of a bill that would have granted women the right to vote and run for office in Kuwait,” the embassy said in a statement.
Rasha Sabah, educated at Oxford and Yale universities, was named acting minister of higher education by Yusuf Ebraheem, who headed that ministry along with the ministry of education, which he retained.
Mr. Ebraheem, former director of the Kuwaiti Cultural Office in Washington, is “one of Kuwait’s more liberal ministers,” the embassy said.
The National Assembly last week voted 32-30 to reject the women’s suffrage bill, which was supported by Emir Sheik Jaber Ahmad Sabah. A Kuwaiti government spokesman insisted the close vote was a sign of progress, not an embarrassment, and predicted women would soon get political rights.
“The issue is not over. It is at a turning point,” said Shafeeq Ghabra, director of the Kuwait Information Office in Washington.
“While women’s rights have recently suffered a temporary setback, the appointment of Dr. Rasha as acting minister seems calculated to hasten the opening up of the political process to Kuwaiti women.”

OAS taps envoy

Luigi R. Einaudi, the retired U.S. ambassador who brokered a peace deal between Peru and Ecuador, is being tapped again to apply his diplomatic skills to another dispute in Latin America.
The Organization of American States Thursday named Mr. Einaudi as a special envoy to mediate between Nicaragua and Honduras over a showdown over maritime borders.
“Ambassador Einaudi is a well-known and respected diplomat who has considerable knowledge of inter-American issues and extensive experience in efforts to find solutions to difficult conflicts,” said OAS Secretary-General Cesar Gaviria.
“I have every confidence that Ambassador Einaudi is the ideal person to facilitate a dialogue to reduce tensions between the two countries.”
Mr. Einaudi is a former U.S. ambassador to the OAS. From 1995 to 1998, he served as a special U.S. envoy to end a border conflict between Peru and Educator.
The crisis between the Central American neighbors erupted last week when Honduras ratified a treaty with Colombia that recognizes Colombia’s claim over the San Adreas Archipelago and surrounding waters rich in fish and with possible oil reserves. Nicaragua claims the same territories.
Honduras and Nicaragua this week accused each other of moving troops to their common frontier and asked the OAS to send monitors to help prevent conflict.

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