- The Washington Times - Monday, October 9, 2000

Arab envoys outraged

Arab ambassadors are calling on the United States to condemn Israel for using tanks, helicopters and live ammunition in clashes with Palestinian protesters.

Kuwaiti Ambassador Mohammed Sabah Salim Sabah led about a dozen Arab envoys last week to meet with Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering.

"We expressed the outrage of the Arab world over the atrocities against a civilian population," Mr. Sabah told Embassy Row. "Once you see tanks and helicopters deployed to confront rock-throwing demonstrators, it is something the world should condemn."

Some of the demonstrators are armed, and the Palestinian police force has engaged in gun battles with Israel security agents in the violence that began two weeks ago. As of yesterday, about 80 people had been killed and more than 2,000 injured, most of them Palestinians.

Mr. Sabah said the ambassadors called on the United States to organize an independent committee to study the cause of the uprising that Arabs blame on the visit of Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon to the holy site known to Muslims as Haram al Sharif and to Jews as the Temple Mount.

Israel says the violence was planned by Palestinian leaders and that Mr. Sharon's action was just a pretense for the riots.

The ambassadors also urged the United States to support a U.N. resolution "condemning the use of force," which was adopted over U.S. objections.

"We think it is imperative for the United States as the only broker of peace in the Middle East to show some evenhandedness," he said.

U.S. feels pressure

The U.S. Embassy in Turkey is feeling diplomatic jitters over the Armenian genocide resolution in Congress.

After Turkey last week threatened to ban U.S. planes from using a Turkish air base to patrol Iraq if the measure passes, U.S. Ambassador Robert Pearson met with Turkish President Bulent Ecevit. Later Mr. Pearson made sure the Turkish media understood that President Clinton is strongly opposed to the resolution.

"We understand the sentiments of Turkey on this issue. We take all these things seriously," he told reporters Friday.

He said the Clinton administration "will continue to make every effort possible to convince the House not to move ahead with this issue."

The House International Relations Committee approved the resolution last week, and it could come before the full House this week.

Mr. Pearson called the U.S.-Turkish relationship "a strategic partnership it is very important for us to continue it."

Turkey's parliament last week warned that it might refuse to renew an arrangement that allows U.S. warplanes to use a crucial base in southern Turkey to enforce a no-fly zone in northern Iraq.

Turkey objects to the resolution, which recognizes the killing of Armenians from 1915 to 1923 as genocide. The measure blames the old Ottoman Empire, not modern-day Turkey.

Armenians say Turkey deliberately tried to exterminate the Armenian population and killed up to 1.5 million. Turkey admits several hundred thousand Armenians were killed by Ottoman troops in an armed conflict and in a forced relocation of the civilian population.

Turkey claims the House resolution is politically motivated to help Republican congressmen with Armenian-American voters. The sponsors of the measure note it has bipartisan support and that they are trying to recognize a historical tragedy.

Geyer gets Alsop award

Georgie Anne Geyer, a syndicated columnist widely known in diplomatic circles at home and abroad, has received an annual media award from the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.

Miss Geyer was presented with the Stewart Alsop award at a dinner Friday night.

The association selected her for her "outstanding foreign-policy" reporting and commentary in her column, which is carried in The Washington Times.

She is also the author of seven books on foreign affairs. Her books "show a superb ability to rationally distill complex issues with clear-eyed fairness," the association said.

The award is named for Mr. Alsop, who served in the Office of Strategic Service, the forerunner of the CIA, in World War II and later wrote a widely respected newspaper column.

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