- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 1, 2004

Saudi ‘front line’

Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan praised his country’s security forces as the kingdom’s “front line” in the war on terrorism.

Prince Bandar praised the bravery of six security men killed last week in a gunfight with terror suspects, and noted that 40 members of the security forces have been killed in counterterrorist operations since May.

“Our brave security teams put their lives on the line every day,” he said. “They are the front line in this war on terrorism, and we are proud of what they are doing to secure our people and our country.

“They deserve our appreciation and our gratitude.”

One civilian also was killed when security forces came under attack while searching a suspect’s house for weapons and explosives. Two security men were wounded. Several suspects were arrested.

No sanctions delay

Rockwell Schnabel, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, is urging Brussels to extend its March 1 deadline for the imposition of sanctions against U.S. goods.

Mr. Schnabel told reporters last week that Washington will not be able to meet that deadline for the reform of the Foreign Sales Corporation Act, which provides tax credits to U.S. businesses operating abroad. The World Trade Organization has declared the tax credits a violation of its rules.

The European Union rejected Mr. Schnabel’s appeal.

Sanctions “will kick in on March 1 unless there is compliance on the U.S. side,” an EU spokesman said last week.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include the following:

Today

• Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the upper chamber of the Russian parliament and deputy speaker of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council. He meets White House officials, members of Congress and the U.S.-Russia Senate-Federation Council Working Group. He attends the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday.

• Benin Foreign Minister Rogatien Biaou, who meets Secretary of State Colin L. Powell tomorrow. The minister also leads the Benin delegation to the fifth annual round of bilateral talks with the United States.

• Nikola Gruevski, a member of the Macedonian parliament, holds a 3 p.m. news conference at the National Press Club.

• Sarah Ferguson, the duchess of York, who is featured at the Nation’s Capital Distinguished Speakers Series, sponsored by the Center for Association Leadership.

Tomorrow

• Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar, who meets Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. On Wednesday, Mr. Aznar addresses Congress.

• Eliezer Zandberg, Israel’s minister of science and technology; Rona Ramon, widow of Israeli astronaut Col. Ilan Ramon; and Canadian astronaut Steve MacLean. They attend an Israeli Embassy memorial service to honor the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia.

• Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who attends a Library of Congress reception for his book, “The Renewal of History: Mankind in the 21st Century and the Future of Russia.”

• United Nations’ Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who meets with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.

• Bosnian Prime Minister Ahmet Hadzipasic and Serb Republic Prime Minister Dragan Mikerevic.

• Rasim Ljajic, human rights minister in Serbia and Montenegro, and Vuk Draskovic of the Serbian Renewal Movement. They will meet administration officials, members of Congress and attend the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday.

Wednesday

• Brian Lee Crowley of Canada’s Atlantic Institute for Market Studies in Nova Scotia. He addresses the Heritage Foundation.

Thursday

• Kosovo Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi, who addresses the United States Institute of Peace.

• Lithuanian Defense Minister Linas Linkevicius, who meets with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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