- The Washington Times - Monday, December 18, 2000

Threat in Turkey

The United States has closed two consulates in Turkey because of a threat against American diplomats.

The consulates in Adana and Istanbul are "not open for public services," but U.S. employees "continue to go to work and do their jobs," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

He said the threat, which he did not disclose, was against U.S. diplomats and diplomatic property, not against American visitors or residents in Turkey.

"I want to make clear that at this time we don't think that there's an increased level of threat to private American citizens residing or visiting in Turkey," he told reporters last week.

"This threat … has to do with … our diplomatic employees and our official employees, our official properties."

He added that a State Department warning issued in October after the attack on the USS Cole remains in effect. It warned Americans to be cautious when visiting Turkey and the Persian Gulf region.

Mr. Boucher said the consulates would reopen when the threat subsides.

"We work closely with the Turkish authorities," he said.

"We do want to express our appreciation to the Turkish authorities for all the help they've given us on these security issues in the past and the help they're giving us now."

Japan praises Bush

Japanese Ambassador Shunji Yanai has sent President-elect Bush his "sincerest congratulations" on his election victory.

"I trust that your able leadership and wisdom will provide strong guidance to your great nation as it addresses important challenges in the coming new century," he said in remarks released Friday by the Japanese Embassy.

Mr. Yanai noted the strength of U.S.-Japanese relations and said the two countries "bear enormous responsibilities for ensuring the peace and prosperity of the world."

On a personal note, the ambassador said he would like to meet Mr. Bush.

"It would be my great pleasure to meet with you in the near future," he said.

Heading to Brussels

Christopher Jackson, director-general of the Hong Kong office in Washington, is heading for Brussels to promote Hong Kong relations with the European Union.

Mr. Jackson, who was appointed to his current position in April 1996, helped lead the office through the transition from British to Chinese rule a year later.

Mr. Jackson, who leaves Jan. 8, "certainly will be missed in Washington," said his deputy, Joe C.C. Wong.

Money for Yugoslavia

William Montgomery, the top U.S. diplomat in Yugoslavia, has signed an accord to provide $10 million in U.S. aid to help rebuild the Balkan country's energy sector.

"This is the first such agreement that we have concluded with the Yugoslav side since the re-establishment of relations," Mr. Montgomery said after a signing ceremony in the capital, Belgrade.

Yugoslavia and the United States suspended diplomatic relations last year after the beginning of the NATO bombing campaign to stop Yugoslav repression in Kosovo.

Mr. Montgomery, who is expected to be named ambassador to Yugoslavia, said the United States will provide $158 million in humanitarian assistance to the country to help Yugoslavs get through the winter.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors due in Washington this week include:

Today

• French President Jacques Chirac, who as president of the European Union attends a U.S.-EU meeting.

• Russian media mogul Boris Berezovsky, who holds a 10 a.m. news conference at the National Press Club.

• Patricia Cisneros, the founder of Venezuela's charitable Cisneros Foundation. She signs an agreement with the Organization of American States to promote education in Latin America.

• Sylvia Ostry of Canada's University of Toronto and Pascal Lamy of the European Union Commission. They participate in a conference on EU-U.S. trade policies at the American Enterprise Institute.

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