- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 6, 2000

Mexico's new envoy

Mexican President Vicente Fox is considering naming a political figure from the former ruling party as ambassador to the United States.

The conservative president, who picked a leftist political scientist as foreign minister, favors Juan Jose Bremer Martino for the nation's most important foreign diplomatic post, according to news reports from Mexico yesterday.

"He has a very outstanding career," one diplomat said.

Mr. Bremer, now ambassador to Spain, is a prominent figure in the Institutional Revolutionary Party, which ruled Mexico for more than 70 years before Mr. Fox of the National Action Party won the July 2 presidential election.

Mr. Bremer, a 56-year-old lawyer, served as a member of the Mexican Congress in the 1980s and as chief of staff of President Luis Echeverria in the early 1970s.

Mr. Bremer has spent the last 12 years as a politically appointed ambassador, serving in Germany, Sweden and the former Soviet Union.

El Financiero, one of Mexico's leading newspapers, quoted Foreign Ministry sources as saying Mr. Bremer is the leading candidate to replace Ambassador Jesus Reyes-Heroles, who finished a three-year assignment in Washington last week.

Despite Mr. Bremer's diplomatic and political connections, he is "practically unknown" in Washington, the newspaper said.

Mr. Fox also reached outside of his own political party to name leftist Jorge Castaneda as foreign minister.

DEA's responsibility

The Mexican Embassy yesterday insisted it was correct when it identified a Texas official, who killed a Mexican trying to enter the United States illegally, as a federal agent.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration on Monday complained that the embassy mistakenly named Wilbur Honeycutt as a DEA agent.

A spokeswoman said Honeycutt was an investigator for the State's Attorney's Office in Maverick County, Texas, who was on temporary assignment with a DEA anti-drug task force at the time he shot Abecnego Monje in January 1999. Honeycutt was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Mexican Embassy spokesman Jose A. Zabalgoitia dismissed the DEA position as irrelevant.

As far as Mexico is concerned, the DEA had responsibility for Honeycutt's action, he said.

"I don't care where his pension fund is," he said. "Mr. Monje's family is suing the DEA. They are not suing Maverick County, Texas."

Diplomatic vampires?

Sudan angrily denounced an American diplomat yesterday for visiting rebel areas in the southern part of the country and accused the United States of pursuing "blood-sucking" foreign policies.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail complained of the visit by Susan Rice, assistant secretary of state for African affairs, in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

He said Mrs. Rice's visit last month was "a grave violation" of Sudan's sovereignty.

Mr. Mustafa complained that she failed to obtain a visa for her visit to the southern part of the country and neglected to inform the government of her plans.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher last month conceded that Mrs. Rice did not seek a visa, but said she did inform the government of her intentions.

"She used procedures followed by past visitors, including American officials and international relief personnel," he said.

Mr. Boucher said the purpose of her trip was to interview women who had been held in slavery in northern Sudan.

Sudan insists slavery no longer exists in the country.

"She reiterated after these discussions that there is no doubt that slavery continues to exist in Sudan and that it is carried out with the knowledge and the support of the Sudanese government," Mr. Boucher said.

In his letter, Mr. Ismail dipped into old Third World rhetoric to condemn the United States, which he declared is "committed to policies of hypocrisy and to action to impose its imperialist, blood-sucking agenda to the detriment of the world's peoples."

A State Department official yesterday laughed when asked to comment on Mr. Ismail's language.

He assured a reporter there are no vampires in Foggy Bottom.

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