- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 1, 2000

Massacre in Congo

Congolese Ambassador Faida Mitifu is trying to focus international attention on reports of massacres in an area of her country controlled by Uganda and allied rebel forces.
"This … demonstrates the brutality of foreign occupation," Mrs. Mitifu said in a statement.
She was referring to a videotape first broadcast last week by the BBC World Service of evidence of violent clashes between the Hema and Lendu tribes. The BBC said the fighting has claimed up to 7,000 lives. A full story on the conflict appears elsewhere in today's World section.
Mrs. Mitifu blamed Uganda for provoking violence between the two tribes that "have lived in harmony for centuries and have never resorted to armed violence."
"Uganda and their rebel allies have purposefully created ethnic tension to justify their illegal occupation, resulting in hatred, violence and murder," Mrs. Mitifu said.
She accused Rwanda, which is also supporting a rebel faction, of using "similar tactics in areas it occupies."
"This [BBC] report underscores the necessity of all hostile forces withdrawing from the Congo immediately," Mrs. Mitifu said. "There is no rule of law in these areas, and, in fact, the occupying forces are fomenting lawlessness.
"Only the legitimate government can restore order and the traditional solidarity of the Congolese people. The [Democratic Republic of] Congo calls on the United Nations and the United States to launch an immediate investigation."

Appeal for calm

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Satterfield yesterday may have stated the obvious when he said that fighting between Israel and Arab guerrillas will not help the stalled peace process.
He appealed for calm in south Lebanon after a Hezbollah bomb blast killed a commander of Israel's allied militia on Sunday.
"We strongly hope that all sides will do everything possible to maintain the calm in the south at this moment when we are focussing all the parties on resuming progress in the negotiations," Mr. Satterfield told reporters.
"The violation in south Lebanon can only hurt and not help the question of peace, so we hope that restraint will be exercised. We have been in touch with all sides regarding the issue."
Mr. Satterfield, however, spoke too soon. While he was meeting with Lebanese diplomat Zuheir Amdan, the Hezbollah killed three Israeli soldiers.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak promptly told Syria, which controls Lebanon, to put a stop to the Hezbollah attacks or Israel will not resume peace talks with Syria.

Ambassador's new role

The former Costa Rican ambassador to the United States chaired a U.N. panel that released a report yesterday accusing Indonesian army personnel of terrorizing and killing civilians in East Timor last year.
Ambassador Sonia Picado served in Washington from 1994 to 1998. Her Commission of Inquiry on East Timor recommended that accused soldiers be prosecuted by an international tribunal.

Strictly speaking

The former Costa Rican ambassador to the United States chaired a U.N. panel that released a report yesterday accusing Indonesian army personnel of terrorizing and killing civilians in East Timor last year.
Ambassador Sonia Picado served in Washington from 1994 to 1998. Her Commission of Inquiry on East Timor recommended that accused soldiers be prosecuted by an international tribunal.
Strictly speakingCzech Ambassador Alexandr Vondra is dedicated to facts and was not about to be carried away by the New Year's celebration of a millennium that will not actually come until next year.
Mr. Vondra, in his column in the latest edition of the Czech Embassy newsletter, notes that newspapers in his country reminded readers that the millennium begins Jan. 1, 2001.
"It was not groundbreaking news, at least for those of us who had to learn mathematics in elementary schools," he wrote.
Prague, the Czech capital, was swept up in the hoopla, but many Czech villages showed respect for the truth, the ambassador said.
"One can argue this is a typical Czech way of thinking. The truth is victorious," he wrote.
Mr. Vondra noted that the U.S. millennium office in charge of the year-2000 hype insisted there should have been a year zero.
"But on a more serious note, what kind of century are we entering?" the ambassador asked.
Recalling his attendance at the World Trade Organization summit in Seattle, Mr. Vondra wrote, "We saw a lot of confusion and misunderstanding both from those who organized the meeting and from those in the street."

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