- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Condemning Libya
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, mostly known for her opposition to Cuban President Fidel Castro, is taking on another dictator by condemning Libya's Moammar Gadhafi.
Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican, yesterday introduced a resolution denouncing the selection of Libya to head the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. Col. Gadhafi's regime, which is on the State Department's list of terrorist nations, has one of the world's worst human rights records.
"We will not sit idly by and allow dictators and terrorist states to further hijack the commission and other U.N. bodies," said Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen, chairman of the House International Relations subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.
"As we seek to condemn Libya and other repressive regimes, we must praise allies such as Israel who remain steadfast in their commitment to democracy," she said. "The two measures, taken together, send a clear message about U.S. priorities."
The Libyan resolution criticizes the countries, mostly from Africa, that supported Libya's nomination and expresses "dismay" that the countries of the European Union abstained in the vote last month.
The resolution "highlights [Congress] grave concern over the continuing efforts of human rights violators and terrorist countries" to use international forums "to legitimize their regimes."
The resolutions are co-sponsored by committee Chairman Henry J. Hyde, Illinois Republican.
Mrs. Ros-Lehtinen next week will lead a congressional delegation to Israel for talks with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

A final salute
A former Israeli ambassador to the United States paid his final respects this week to Col. Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut, who was killed in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.
Ambassador David Ivry was Col. Ramon's commander during the 1981 Israeli air force raid that destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor. The attack was credited with disrupting Iraq's nuclear-weapons program.
"Ramon was a very professional pilot who was very much appreciated by all the people he worked with," Mr. Ivry said at a ceremony in Tel Aviv Monday to mark the return of Col. Ramon's remains.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, President Moshe Katsav, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and Gen. Moshe Yaalon, the chief of staff, also attended the ceremony.
Yesterday, Col. Ramon was buried at a kibbutz near the Sea of Galilee, near important Israelis including former Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. The private burial at Kibbutz Nahalal was attended only by friends and relatives.

Visit to New Mexico
Mexican Ambassador Juan Jose Bremer is on a working visit to New Mexico, where he will hold talks with Gov. Bill Richardson and address a joint session of the state legislature this week.
Mr. Bremer will also participate in the state's Hispanic Cultural Day, the Mexican Embassy said yesterday.
"During his speech before the state's [legislature], Ambassador Bremer will underscore the importance of Hispanic culture and of the Mexican and Mexican-American communities for the economy, the society and the culture of the United States," the embassy said.
Hispanics make up 42 percent of the state's population, and 29 percent of New Mexicans speak Spanish as well as English.

Anthrax hoax
An envelope marked "Anthrax" made U.S. diplomats in Brunei panicky over the weekend.
The U.S. Embassy was evacuated, and firefighters hosed down the deputy chief of mission before authorities realized the letter was a hoax, according to reports yesterday from the oil-rich kingdom in Southeast Asia.
Although the contents of the envelope turned out to be a harmless powder, authorities are treating the incident as an act of terrorism.
The sender of the letter "made it clear that he wanted us to believe the white powder contained anthrax," U.S. Ambassador Gene Christy told the Borneo Bulletin newspaper.
Diplomats discovered the letter Sunday and immediately alerted authorities. Mr. Christy evacuated the embassy, located on the second floor of an office building. As a precaution, a hazardous-material unit from the fire department in the capital hosed down deputy chief of mission Robert Pons, who handled the letter. The embassy later resumed its normal activities.

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