- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 14, 1999

Mourning for Croatia

The Croatian Embassy is mourning the death of President Franjo Tudjman, considered by most Croats as the father of their country but criticized by many Western leaders as an authoritarian nationalist.
Many journalists writing his obituary have stopped just short of calling him a war criminal.
At Mr. Tudjman’s funeral yesterday, Peter Galbraith, the former U.S. ambassador to Croatia, explained why so many Western leaders refused to attend.
“It is no secret that my country had disagreements on human rights, democracy, the rights of minorities,” he told Reuters news agency. “He was a controversial figure, and some of these human rights issues are extremely important in Western capitals.”
In Washington, the Croatian Embassy opened a book of condolences, which can be signed until 4:30 p.m. today.
“President Franjo Tudjman gave back to the Croatian people their independence, introducing Croatia into the community of free and independent nations and demonstrating to the citizens of his beloved homeland the path toward democracy,” Croatian Ambassador Miomir Zuzul said in a statement.
“His life was dedicated to the revival of the deepest aspirations of Croatian national identity, as well as the realization of a dream that inspired generations of Croats.”

Watching the world

It would hardly be an exaggeration to call Peter Hain Britain’s minister of state for the world.
His portfolio includes Africa, the Commonwealth of former British colonies, the Middle East, South Asia, human rights, the environment, the United Nations, economic relations and nuclear nonproliferation. Someone also threw in responsibility for visas.
At a breakfast meeting yesterday with reporters at the residence of British Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer, Mr. Hain called on Israel to guarantee Syria’s security in any future deal.
He urged the West to invest in Africa and encourage democratic development.
He said Iraq is rebuilding nuclear, chemical and biological weapons at a “worrying” rate. He praised President Clinton’s foreign policy initiatives and criticized the Senate for killing the nuclear test ban treaty.
Mostly he wanted to talk about Africa. Mr. Hain said he is proud to be the first British minister born in South Africa. His parents were expelled for protesting apartheid, and he used to spend days in London demonstrating against apartheid outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where he now works.
“I’m trying to give a higher profile to African issues,” Mr. Hain said.
He met yesterday with Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Susan Rice.
He said Britain is pleased to see the United States paying attention to Africa, noting the recent trips by Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright in November and U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.
“A stable Africa is in U.S. interests,” Mr. Hain said, adding that stability requires less foreign aid and fewer peacekeepers and prevents terrorism.
He criticized the United States for planning to provide food aid to rebels in southern Sudan, warning that the aid could buttress the rebellion and lead to the partition of the country.
On the Middle East, Mr. Hain expects the Palestinians eventually to achieve nationhood.
He said both Syria and Israel, which begin negotiations in Washington tomorrow, need security guarantees from each other to make any peace settlement work.
“There is a deal to be done,” he said. “I don’t think there is any doubt.”

Syria’s delegation

Reports from Syria yesterday said the country’s delegation to peace talks with Israel will include:
Foreign Minister Farouk Sharaa; Walid Moualem, ambassador to the United States; Mikhail Wahba, ambassador to the United Nations; Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Omar; Riad Dawdi, an adviser to Mr. Sharaa, Samir Kassir, Mr. Sharaa’s chief of staff, Yusset Shakur, a former deputy foreign minister, and Siba Nasser, director of the Foreign Ministry’s bureau of European and Middle East affairs.
The Israeli Embassy announced a change to its delegation, which was reported in yesterday’s Embassy Row. Foreign Affairs adviser Tzvi Shtaurer will not be coming.

To contact Embassy Row, call 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail at morris@twtmail.com.

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