- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 29, 2000

'Enjoyable' year

Talks on the future of Cyprus have gone on and on with little progress this year, but the U.S. ambassador to the divided island remains hopeful that some solution can be found to bring ethnic Greeks and Turks together again.

Douglas Bandler said he has had an "enjoyable" first year as ambassador among "extremely friendly people."

He said that, regardless of the outcome of the disputed presidential election, the United States will remain committed to a solution based on the U.N. principles of a reunited island with a federal government that represents both communities, the Cypriot Embassy reports in its latest newsletter.

Referring to Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides, Mr. Bandler said, "I am very impressed by [his] determination to make this difficult process a success."

Mr. Clerides and Rauf Denktash, president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, have conducted five rounds of U.N.-sponsored talks through intermediaries.

Mr. Denktash, whose government is recognized only by Turkey, has been insisting on equal diplomatic status to Mr. Clerides' government, the internationally recognized government of Cyprus.

Mr. Bandler urged both sides to submit proposals to help "craft the shape of a future settlement."

On other issues, the ambassador congratulated Cyprus on efforts to reform its banking sector to combat money laundering.

"This is and must be an ongoing effort to stay ahead of those who want to misuse the system," he said.

Mexican farewell

Mexican Ambassador Jesus Reyes-Heroles and his wife, Regina, are saying goodbye to Washington as they prepare to return to Mexico. Tomorrow is the ambassador's last official day in office here.

"Time flies fleetingly and, sometimes, Regina and I are amazed that we have been here for three years," he said in a letter to friends and associates.

"Despite how much it means to my family and me to be leaving Washington, we are thrilled to be returning to a Mexico that is living a vigorous democracy, undergoing economic growth on solid foundations and experiencing a highly constructive relationship with the United States."

Mr. Reyes-Heroles will be returning in time for the inauguration Friday of Vicente Fox, whose National Action Party ended 71 years of rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party.

The ambassador, who was appointed by outgoing President Ernesto Zedillo, expressed pride in Mr. Zedillo's accomplishments.

"President Zedillo had clearly presented the objectives which he wished to attain by the end of [his] mandate: to fully consolidate the functioning of democracy in Mexico, to ensure a transition with economic stability and to conclude his administration with a bilateral relationship with the United States of America in a cordial, respectful, cooperative and mutually beneficial atmosphere," the ambassador said.

French twist

For those who think the French just love to make fun of Americans, consider a French Embassy report on news coverage of the U.S. elections.

It found the French press has devoted hours of broadcast time and thousands of column inches in newspapers and magazines. Most of it has been of a serious nature, the embassy said in its November newsletter.

The newsletter, published after the Nov. 7 election, noted that a French newscaster expressed fascination at the election turmoil in Florida, calling it "an extraordinary exercise in democracy."

The newspaper Le Monde said: "The United States is taking all the time that is required, without giving in to impatience, to arrive at a clear result and thus preserve the people's faith in the right to vote, one of the pillars of American greatness."

The embassy noted, "In terms of sheer volume, the media coverage of the United States 2000 presidential elections in France might almost lead an alien interloper to believe that the countries share a border instead of being separated by an ocean.

"A closer look would reveal, of course, that the actual motivation for this extraordinarily keen and sustained interest owes more to the two nations' history of partnership and intense exchange of ideas especially with regard to democracy and its most intricate workings resulting in a certain mutual fascination with each other's political culture."

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