- The Washington Times - Friday, June 8, 2001

Iranian weapons
Iran is arming Palestinians by smuggling weapons through Syria, Israeli Ambassador David Ivry said yesterday.
"Its done with the blessing of Syria," he said.
Mr. Ivry said Iranian weapons also end up in the hands of Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad terrorist groups in Lebanon.
Israel suspects some weapons are smuggled through a port in Egypt, although the Egyptian government is not involved, he said.
Mr. Ivry, meeting reporters over breakfast, also said his government is prepared for a reduction of U.S. troops in the Sinai, along the border with Egypt.
"We still need the U.S. flag there, so how big a reduction is another question," he said.
The United States stations 865 troops in the Sinai as part of an international observer force of 1,850 soldiers from 11 countries.
Mr. Ivry also said Israel has learned to accept limitations on the amount of force it can use against Palestinian attacks, while Palestinians have learned how to get international attention and to portray Israel as the aggressor.
"It is always the strong side that will get criticized. The underdog will get sympathy," he said.

Back stabbing in Japan
Japanese Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka is under daily attack by anonymous government bureaucrats in Tokyo, who have leaked sensitive details of her meetings with foreign officials.
In Washington, however, Japanese Ambassador Shunji Yanai has rejected the back stabbing and taken the diplomatically courageous stand of criticizing her on the record.
Mr. Yanai this week told Japanese reporters in Washington that he is shocked at the turmoil in the Foreign Ministry and urged Mrs. Tanaka to listen to the advice from career diplomats. He also said he was disappointed that she failed to meet Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage when he traveled to Japan last month to discuss U.S. missile defense plans.
Mrs. Tanaka, Japans first female foreign minister, is the daughter of the late Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, described as one of Japans most powerful postwar leaders. Her appointment as foreign minister in April was widely popular with the public, which saw it as another sign of reform from Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
Since then, she has accused unnamed bureaucrats of embezzling money from "secret diplomatic funds." Foreign Ministry sources have retaliated by leaking details of her private conversations in which she reportedly criticized President Bushs plans for a missile defense system and questioned the U.S.-Japanese security alliance.
On Wednesday, she threatened to sue ministry bureaucrats for revealing her remarks to the press.
Mr. Yanai told Japanese reporters, "I have been with the Foreign Ministry for 40 years, and I have never seen a situation more extraordinary than this."
"What I want Tanaka to do is listen more to advice from bureaucrats, although there could be differences of opinion," he added.
Mr. Yanai appeared embarrassed by her failure to meet Mr. Armitage because he had worked with U.S. officials to arrange talks between them.
"I told the U.S. side before the trip to Tokyo that there was a good prospect of a Tanaka meeting with Armitage. So it was very regrettable," he said.
Tokyos Mainichi Shimbun newspaper this week said the leaks are damaging Japans image and "the back stabbing has gone too far."

Mubarak calls Bush
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak wants President Bush to be more engaged in the effort to reopen Middle East peace talks, according to Egyptian Ambassador Nabil Fahmy.
"Mr. Mubarak called on Mr. Bush to intensify the American role to really take into account the current crisis between Israelis and Palestinians," Mr. Fahmy was quoted as saying in yesterdays edition of Cairos Al-Akhbar newspaper.

Bush invites Africans
President Bush has invited three African leaders to Washington, the White House said yesterday.
Mr. Bush plans an Oval Office meeting on June 28 with Alpha Oumar Konare of Mali, John Kufuor of Ghana and Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal.

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