- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 18, 2000

Vigilante ranchers?

Mexican Foreign Minister Rosario Green today plans to complain to Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright about Arizona ranchers who have been rounding up illegal immigrants and turning them over to U.S. authorities.

"I will handle this issue with firmness," she told reporters in Mexico City this week, as she discussed the agenda for her meetings in Washington.

"Issues such as violence by ranchers in the southern United States will have to be treated."

She feared the actions could "generate a climate of lynching and death."

Mexico is upset by action taken by Arizona ranchers who have captured Mexicans who have entered the United States illegally and delivered them into the hands of the U.S. Border Patrol.

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Jeffrey Davidow on Monday told a Mexican television show that the issue must be addressed but noted that the ranchers were operating on their own property.

Mrs. Green said the U.N. Human Rights Commission has agreed to Mexico's request to investigate the matter.

She cited 32 cases involving 450 migrants since January 1999. She said two persons have been killed and seven wounded.

"Most Mexican migrants are good people, hardworking people who only seek a better life. They are not criminals," Mrs. Green said.

Thanks from Africa

Africa and the United States have won a "major victory for free trade" and overcome "unfounded fears," the dean of the African Diplomatic Corps said yesterday.

Ambassador Roble Olhaye of Djibouti, speaking on behalf of envoys from 48 African nations, thanked Congress for the passage this month of the Trade and Development Act 2000. The bill, first introduced five years ago, was known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act until it was amended to include Central America and the Caribbean.

Mr. Olhaye said he expects President Clinton, a strong advocate of the measure, will sign the bill today.

"With perseverance and determination coupled with the unceasing and unprecedented flow of support and commitment from President Clinton and his administration, and from members of Congress and their staff … business coalitions and African constituencies in the United States, we have finally overcome unfounded fears, implacability and indifference in what is now seen as a major victory for free trade forces," Mr. Olhaye said in a statement.

The bill will lift U.S. tariffs on imports of African goods made from American cloth and reduce duties on African textiles. Similar measures apply to Central America and Caribbean.

"We are eagerly awaiting the signing of the act into law by President Clinton, thus heralding a new era in U.S.-Africa economic partnership and going a long way in enabling African countries to be part of the global economy," he said.

Kaleidoscopic Gulf

Bahrain Ambassador Mohammed Abdul Ghaffar, promoting investment in the Arab Gulf states, told business executives this week that the region was influenced by three major events in the past 50 years.

The first was the 1958 coup that overthrew the monarchy in Iraq, eventually giving rise to Saddam Hussein. Next was the 1979 Iranian revolution and the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The third event was the 1981 formation of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

"Looking at this kaleidoscope of major events reveals the complex nature of Gulf politics, both past and present," he told guests at a reception for alumni of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Business School.

"Each of these changes, representing turning points in the history of the region, created their own world view for development and security. It is clear that the political and economic mode in the Gulf Cooperation Council has been an evolutionary one."

Mr. Ghaffar said the challenge facing the region today is to prepare for the "new economies of knowledge and information" and maintain the security of the Gulf.

"Keeping trade routes open are essential for globalization," he said. "These routes must be protected."

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