- The Washington Times - Friday, September 28, 2001

Trade against terrorism

The ambassador from Chile yesterday endorsed the U.S. trade representative's call to promote free trade agreements as a tool in the fight against terrorism.

"Chileans understand that transparent and enforceable regulations, as well as government accountability, reinforce the efficiency of markets," said Ambassador Andres Bianchi. "But, above all, Chile values democracy, the rule of law, human rights and equal opportunities to all."

Mr. Bianchi, speaking at a Washington conference on U.S.-Chile trade issues, noted that U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick last week said "trade liberalization to promote economic progress and stability" must be seen as another way to fight terrorism.

"In addition to military actions, we must thrust forward the values that define us against our adversary: openness, peaceful exchange, democracy, the rule of law, compassion and tolerance," he said in a speech.

Mr. Bianchi noted that Chile's economic progress has made it one of the freest markets in the world. Chile and the United States are negotiating a free-trade agreement that would eliminate tariffs and other trade barriers.

"Since the mid-1970s, Chile has embraced the principles and practices of modern market economics and is committed to an ongoing liberalization of its domestic economy and to building free and open markets internationally," he said.

Mr. Bianchi was joined by Alvaro Garcia, chief of staff to Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, as the forum sponsored by the Chilean Embassy and George Washington University.


Bulgarian message

Bulgarian Ambassador Philip Dimitrov, who fought in the streets against communism in his country, knows the United States will win the war against terrorism.

"We are sure that the United States will stand tall against barbarism, and we are willing to give every support to your actions," he wrote in a letter to all members of Congress.

"God bless America."

Spanish visitor

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique visits Washington today to discuss the preparations for the war on terrorism.

He meets Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Mr. Pique also has meetings scheduled with Cesar Gaviria, secretary-general of the Organization of American States, and Eduardo Gutierrez, Spain's representative to the OAS.

Mr. Pique also plans to travel to New York for a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and a visit to the remains of the World Trade Center.


Call from Kazakhstan

The president of oil-rich Kazakhstan called President Bush this week to express his condolences over the terrorist attacks on America, the Kazakh Embassy said yesterday.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev pledged his support for Mr. Bush but "stressed that the fight against terrorism should not develop into a clash of civilizations nor lead to civilian casualties," the embassy said.

Mr. Nazarbayev, in a press conference, also promoted his Central Asian nation as an "alternative oil supplier to the world market." Kazakhstan could have up to "7 billion tons of oil reserves," the embassy said.

Meanwhile, Larry Napper, the U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan, said the United States is preparing to relocate its embassy from Almaty to Kazakhstan's new capital, Astana.

In a meeting with Oralbai Abdukarimov, speaker of the Kazakh Senate, Mr. Napper praised the former Soviet republic for destroying the nuclear weapons it inherited after the breakup of the Soviet Union.


Nominations

President Bush has selected a seminary graduate and a career foreign service officer in his latest diplomatic nominations.

Mr. Bush tapped John V. Hanford III to serve as ambassador at large for international religious freedom. Mr. Hanford, a graduate of the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, is executive director of the Congressional Fellows Program in International Religious Freedom.

Mr. Bush selected Patrick Francis Kennedy to be alternative representative to the U.N. General Assembly. Mr. Kennedy is now ambassador to the United Nations for management and reform.

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