- The Washington Times - Monday, February 21, 2000

'Tar and feather' him

U.S. ambassadors face many threats in foreign postings, but usually tarring and feathering is not one of them.

However, a leading member of the Philippine Congress demanded such punishment for Ambassador Thomas Hubbard simply for carrying out his duties.

Mr. Hubbard has been urging the Philippines to extradite Mark Jimenez, a Philippine businessman wanted in the United States on charges of illegal campaign contributions to the Democratic Party. He also faces charges of conspiracy, tax evasion and mail fraud.

Mr. Jimenez has a powerful friend in congressional leader Aniceto Saludo. Mr. Jimenez is also a former advisor to Philippine President Joseph Estrada.

Mr. Saludo, assistant majority leader of Mr. Estrada's ruling party in the Philippine House of Representatives, was outraged by Mr. Hubbard's extradition request. He denounced the U.S. envoy for warning that America's relations with the Philippines might be damaged if the extradition is denied.

"Mr. Hubbard, by his intemperate and threatening language deserves to be tarred and feathered and sent home packing," Mr. Saludo said in a statement last week.

He added Mr. Hubbard should be declared persona non grata.

Mr. Saludo described efforts to extradite Mr. Jimenez as "a direct assault on the Philippine constitution."

Mr. Jimenez returned to the Philippines last year after he was indicted in the 1996 Democratic fund-raising scandal.

Threat to the Danube

Peter Tufo, the U.S. ambassador to Hungary, is trying to help save the Danube from a cyanide spill on one of the famous river's tributaries.

Mr. Tufo has released $25,000 from an embassy emergency fund to help pay for water monitoring on the banks of the Tisza River, which was polluted by the poisonous spill from a gold mine in Romania last week.

The U.S. Agency for International Development has placed three water monitoring stations along the river, the U.S. Embassy said.

"As soon as we heard what had happened, we contacted the Hungarian government to offer our assistance and have mobilized multiple available resources," said embassy spokesman Thomas Robertson.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

* Tunisian Foreign Minister Habid ben Yahia, who has meetings with Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and leaders of Congress this week.

Tomorrow

* King Juan Carlos of Spain, who begins a state visit. The official White House ceremony and state dinner are Wednesday. He also meets Mrs. Albright at a luncheon at the State Department.

* French Defense Minister Alain Richard, who meets Defense Secretary William S. Cohen, other administration officials, members of Congress and private policy institutes.

Wednesday

* Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson, who briefs Mrs. Albright, National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger and officials on the collapse of the Northern Ireland peace process. He holds a 9 a.m. news conference at the British Embassy.

* Mongolian Foreign Minister Nyamosor Tuya, who holds a 9 a.m. news conference at the National Press Club to discuss Mongolia's security concerns.

* Venezuelan Labor Minister Lino Martinez Salazar, who holds a 3 p.m. news conference at the Organization of American States to discuss his country's new constitution.

* Dimitri Furman, a senior scholar at Moscow's Institute of Europe. He addresses invited guests of the National Endowment for Democracy on Chechnya and the future of Russia.

Thursday

* Jaromir Stetina, a Czech filmmaker and journalist, who discusses his coverage of Russia's war in Chechnya with invited guests at the Czech Embassy.

* Bishop Artemije, the religious leader of Orthodox Serbs in Kosovo, discusses the current situation in the Yugoslav province with invited guests of the Woodrow Wilson Center.

* Soulivong Savang, the crown prince of Laos, who holds a 9 a.m. news conference at the National Press Club to discuss human rights problems in his country.

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