- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Abide with us’

Clifford M. Sobel, the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, honored more than 8,000 Americans who died in the Allied advance after D-Day by quoting the late Dutch Queen Juliana, who said:

“They met death that we should be granted life anew.

Standing at their graves,

we may be assured they are not here,

but let us all know that

they always abide with us.”

Mr. Sobel on Sunday said he could think of “no words more fitting” to remember the 8,302 soldiers buried at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in Margraten, a country village in the southeast of the country.

Most died during airborne and ground operations as they liberated the Netherlands and advanced into Germany, beginning in September 1944. Many died during the ill-fated Operation Market Garden, which attempted to capture bridges over the Rhine.

The site of the 65.5-acre cemetery is an ancient one, located next to the Cologne-Boulogne highway, originally built by the Romans and used by the invading armies of Charlemagne, Napoleon and Hitler.

“If Margraten teaches us anything, it teaches us to stand up to evil and speak and act like free men and women,” Mr. Sobel said, speaking at a Memorial Day ceremony.

The ambassador praised the people of the Netherlands, whose national motto is “I will be steadfast.”

“I know that I speak for all Americans when I say that we cherish the steadfastness of the Dutch nation,” Mr. Sobel said. “You hold the torch of freedom high. You understand why we stood together some 60 years ago and why we stand together today to challenge those who would challenge freedom.”

Mr. Sobel drew parallels between World War II and the liberation of Iraq.

“We cannot be indifferent to terrorism and oppression and religious and racial prejudice and leaders who disregard every standard of human decency,” he said.

Mr. Sobel noted that the U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, is a former ambassador to the Netherlands.

“Almost every day, we watch [him] defend freedom with the help of the grandchildren of the ‘greatest generation,’” Mr. Sobel said. “We watch him try to lay the groundwork of a democratic, pluralistic nation that will flourish as Europe flourishes today.”

Saudi oil safe

A Saudi diplomat is trying to assure the West that Saudi oil supplies are safe from terrorist attacks such as the one over the weekend against a residential complex housing Westerners.

Nail al-Jubeir, the spokesman for the Saudi Embassy here, said one goal of the terrorists is to try to damage the Saudi economy and drive a wedge between Saudis and the Western workers, mainly employed in the oil industry.

“Their intent is to frighten. It is to murder. It is to try to cripple the Saudi economy and the world economy,” he told CNN on Sunday.

He predicted they will fail to damage the economy because the oil fields are well-protected. He said attacks against civilian targets are difficult to prevent.

“We know they are safe,” Mr. al-Jubeir said of the oil fields. “We have been protecting the oil installations for over 50 years. We have been the victims of attacks from extremists, whether they are religious extremists or secular extremists, from inside and outside the country since the beginning of the state. So we have protected all these installations.”

Mr. al-Jubeir also predicted that oil prices will begin to fall after oil producers increase their output. Saudi Arabia is expected to urge a boost in production at tomorrow’s meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

As soon as oil speculators realize the supply is safe, “we should see a downturn in the price of oil,” he said.

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

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