- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 14, 2000

Ambassador attacked

Cameroon President Paul Biya yesterday denounced "serious banditry" after the U.S. ambassador was attacked Friday by car thieves.

Ambassador John Yates suffered a superficial head wound when he was beaten by unidentified assailants who tried to steal his car in downtown Yaounde, the Cameroon capital.

Mr. Yates was back at work yesterday and met with aides to discuss security issues in Cameroon, a U.S. diplomatic source told Agence France-Presse.

"The head of state reassures members of the diplomatic corps in Cameroon of the importance he attaches to the security of people and goods throughout the territory," the government said in a statement in the official newspaper, the Cameroon Tribune.

Mr. Biya also said his government is planning to overhaul security services to fight what he called "serious banditry and urban crime."

Mubarak sets visit

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will meet President Clinton to discuss the Middle East peace process and other issues on March 28, as part of a four-day visit to the United States.

Mr. Mubarak's chief adviser, Ossama Baz, yesterday told reporters the president will be in the United States from March 25 to March 29.

"The peace process and questions of order in the region will take priority," he told reporters in Cairo.

Mr. Mubarak will emphasize "the need to pursue U.S. efforts on the peace process without suspending them due to the upcoming American presidential election," Mr. Baz said.

Ukraine cancels visit

Ukrainian Prime Minister Victor A. Yuschenko has canceled a visit to Washington because of a "tragic mining disaster," the Ukrainian Embassy said yesterday.

Mr. Yuschenko was to have arrived tomorrow.

The prime minister decided he must stay at home to oversee rescue efforts after the coal mine explosion Saturday in Krasnodon, more than 400 miles east of the capital, Kiev.

The government described the explosion that killed 81 miners as the worst mining disaster in decades in Ukraine.

Berlin compromise

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright is considering a compromise proposal for a new American Embassy in Berlin that falls short of U.S. security requirements.

John Kornblum, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, said the proposal, nevertheless, might be acceptable.

"The [Berlin government] has given us a very constructive proposal. It's being looked at in Washington, Mr. Kornblum told reporters yesterday in Germany.

The Berlin city government opposed the original plans for the embassy because it would have rerouted several main streets and impacted the city's Tiergarten park.

The new proposal leaves the park untouched and slightly alters some streets and sidewalks in central Berlin next to the Brandenburg Gate, said reports from Berlin.

Mr. Kornblum said Mrs. Albright must approve the plans because they fall short of security requirements established after the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Invitation to Vietnam

The ambassador of Vietnam has been invited to a reception tonight to celebrate the upcoming bicentennial of the U.S. Military Academy.

Of course the United States and Vietnam now have full diplomatic relations. U.S. Ambassador Douglas Peterson, a former prisoner of war, has reconciled with his former captors. So has John McCain.

Retired Gen. Alexander Haig, chairman of the bicentennial committee, invited Vietnamese Ambassador Le Van Bang to the reception, which will include a presentation of plans for the celebration in 2002.

However, the invitation was a form letter sent to all ambassadors representing "countries with whom West Point graduates have served over the years" perhaps not the best way to describe the U.S. generals who led American troops against the government Mr. Le Bang now represents.

The ambassador declined the invitation.

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