- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Abdullah, others visit

King Abdullah II of Jordan will be the third national leader to meet President Bush this week, after the Canadian and Japanese prime ministers. Egypt and Ireland also said their foreign ministers will visit Washington for talks tomorrow.

King Abdullah, the first Arab leader to visit Washington since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, will meet Mr. Bush on Friday, the Jordanian government announced yesterday.

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien met Mr. Bush yesterday, and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is due at the White House today.

King Abdullah condemned the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and said, "The struggle against terrorism is an international responsibility which requires a coming together of all efforts."

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell today is due to meet Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher, a former ambassador to the United States.

"He will provide an Egyptian perspective on how to deal with the crisis," said Egyptian Embassy press counselor Hashem Makib.

He added that Egypt has been fighting domestic terrorists for years.

"We are after them with our fist of iron," he said.

Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen is scheduled to meet Mr. Powell tomorrow to offer "the deep condolences of the Irish people" and pledge Ireland's help in the war against terrorism.

Irish Embassy press spokesman Thomas Kelly said five Irish citizens died in the New York attack, but the death toll could rise to 20.

The confirmed dead include a woman who was on one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center, where her brother was working. He survived.


Greek strike

Greek diplomats worldwide went on strike yesterday for higher pay, but Greek Ambassador Alexander Philon was at his desk working with Greek-Americans who lost relatives in the terrorist attacks.

Only five of the 50 diplomats at the Greek Embassy joined the strike in Washington, said embassy spokesman Achilles Paparsenos.

The strike involves diplomats from the Greek Foreign Ministry, but diplomats from the press, economic and defense ministries were not affected, he explained.

The strike by the Greek Diplomats' Union involves 540 members at 110 embassies and consulates and at the foreign ministry in Athens, the Associated Press reported.

The minimum wage for diplomats in Greece is $511 a month. Diplomats abroad get living expenses and other benefits.

Mr. Philon, meanwhile, is assisting Greek-American organizations that are trying to identify Greek victims of the terrorist attacks in New York and at the Pentagon. The embassy expects as many as 30 Greek-Americans died in the disasters.


Loose lips

Japanese Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka has caused a diplomatic embarrassment by revealing the contents of a confidential conversation with Japan's ambassador to the United States on the day of the terrorist attacks.

Mrs. Tanaka told reporters that the State Department had shut down and its diplomats relocated to the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington. Japanese news reports yesterday said she obtained the information from Ambassador Shunji Yanai, who learned of it on a "confidential basis" from Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman.

"The State Department has retreated. It has established a temporary State Department at a training institute near Arlington," she said, according to the Yomiuri newspaper.

Japanese reporters did not report the comment when she made it on Sept. 11. Because of a bomb scare, the State Department evacuated all employees except those in the Operations Center. While most waited outside, top officials took up temporary posts at the institute.

Japan's Kyodo News Agency reported that after she revealed where State Department officials took shelter, Foreign Ministry bureaucrats kept other confidential information from her and her staff to avoid further leaks.

Mrs. Tanaka, Japan's first female foreign minister, has been involved in other diplomatic incidents since her appointment earlier this year, quarreling with ministry officials and opposing the prime minister's efforts to shake up Japan's diplomatic corps.

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