- The Washington Times - Friday, November 17, 2000

Restoring Yugoslav ties

The United States and Yugoslavia moved closer yesterday toward restoring diplomatic relations that were broken last year during the NATO air war in Kosovo.

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright plans to meet Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica later this month at a European security forum in Vienna, Austria, Agence France-Presse reported.

They are expected to meet at a foreign ministers meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Nov. 27 and 28.

The Yugoslav government announced yesterday it will restore ties with the United States, as well as with Britain, France and Germany, where relations were also broken because the war.

State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said the United States welcomes the Yugoslav decision and repeated that Washington expects to complete the formal process of re-establishing relations "within the next few days."

"We are pleased to be normalizing relationships with the Kostunica government, as has been planned between our two governments, and we hope to restore the strong ties that have historically characterized the relations between our two countries and peoples," Mr. Reeker said.

The two countries must exchange presidential letters and diplomatic memorandums to formalize the restoration of relations, he said.

"An exchange of presidential letters and diplomatic notes is indeed a formality, but that's something that does need to take place," Mr. Reeker explained.

Britain yesterday said it "is ready to resume its accustomed role as a close friend" of Yugoslavia's.

"We look forward to continuing our close contacts with many old friends, but also building new relationships throughout the country," a British statement said.

In Paris, the French foreign ministry, said, "France is delighted by the decision of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to renew diplomatic ties with our country."

Ebola in Uganda

The State Department yesterday warned U.S. citizens in Uganda about an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus and cautioned them to avoid public gatherings, especially funerals.

Americans should "take health precautions, register with the U.S. Embassy and monitor public announcements" about the disease, the department said in a statement.

The department said gatherings such as funerals could be especially dangerous because of close contacts with others who might be infected with the highly contagious virus.

Of the 336 persons confirmed with the virus, 117 have died so far, the department said.

India's Republican ally

India is pleased with the new co-chairman of the India caucus in Congress.

Rep. Ed Royce of California was appointed as the Republican co-chairman this week, replacing James C. Greenwood of Pennsylvania.

The Times of India yesterday praised Mr. Royce for his "fortitude and energy" and noted that the Indian-American community sees him as a "splendid choice."

Mr. Royce is a member of the International Relations Asia and Pacific subcommittee.

"The India Caucus, which has grown by leaps and bounds in the past two years, primarily due to the resourcefulness and zestful leadership of the Democratic [former] Co-Chairman Gary Ackerman, is today 124-member strong the largest of its kind in the Congress," the newspaper said.

Mr. Royce told the Times of India, "I will focus on a number of tasks to accelerate the economic partnership between India and the United States, to ensure a better grasp of issues which face both our countries, such as terrorism and to see there is a greater representation of the Republicans in the caucus."

The caucus now has a majority of Democrats, even though it has bipartisan chairmen, the new Democratic co-chairman being Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington.

Polish monument

The Polish Embassy is preparing for the unveiling of a memorial to the 20,000 Polish officers who were killed by Soviet troops in 1940.

A 40-foot-tall bronze monument by Polish artist Andrzej Pitynski will be dedicated at 1 p.m. Sunday on the Baltimore waterfront at President and Aliceanna streets.

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