- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 23, 2004

Saudis strike back

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi ambassador, thinks his country is proving its effectiveness in the battle against terrorism after a shootout last week between Saudi police and suspected extremists.

“Saudi counterterrorism efforts are now among the best in the world,” he said. “The effectiveness of our security forces combined with the support of our citizens has made Saudi Arabia increasingly inhospitable for terrorists.”

Saudi security forces killed four terrorist suspects and injured a fifth man after they came under machine-gun fire while searching for the suspects in the village of Khudairah last week. One security officer was killed, and two were injured.

After a series of terrorist attacks beginning last year, Saudi Arabia began tracking suspects and closing loopholes in money-laundering laws that allowed terrorist organizations to divert funds intended for charities.

In March, the United States praised Saudi cooperation.

“The Saudis are a key ally in the global war on terror,” Ambassador Cofer Black, the State Department counterterrorism coordinator, told the House International Relations Committee.

“Their performance has not been flawless, and they have a large task before them; but we see clear evidence of the seriousness of purpose and the commitment of the leadership of the kingdom to this fight.”

Relations with India

David Mulford, the U.S. ambassador to India, thinks the new Indian government will build on the strong ties that were developed by the leadership defeated in last week’s election.

“The United States and India have a strong bilateral relationship based on our common democratic values and shared interests,” he said, as he sent congratulations to Manmohan Singh, the new prime minister.

“The United States looks forward to working with Dr. Singh and his government to further strengthen this relationship. I am confident that the progress in U.S.-India relations will continue to be positive.”

Mr. Singh’s Congress party replaces the Hindu nationalist party of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel. He meets Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice tomorrow. On Wednesday, he meets Marc Grossman, undersecretary of state for political affairs.

• Robyn Lim, professor of international relations at Japan’s Nanzan University, who addresses the American Enterprise Institute.

Tomorrow

• Juan Del Granado Cosio, mayor of La Paz, Bolivia, who addresses the Inter-American Dialogue. He is a former member of the National Congress.

Wednesday

• Mexican Customs Administrator-General Jose Guzman Montalvo, Gov. Juan Carlos Romero Hicks of Guanajuato and Gov. Jose Natividad Gonzalez Paras of Nuevo Leon. They attend the annual convention of the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday

• Claudia Hepburn of Canada’s Fraser Institute; Frank-Rudiger Jach of the University of Applied Sciences in Public Administration of Hamburg, Germany; Norman LaRocque of the New Zealand Business Roundtable; F. Mikael Sandstrom, a member of the Swedish Parliament; Claudio Sapelli of Chile’s Catholic University; James Tooley of the University of Newcastle, England; and Ludger Woessmann of the University of Munich, Germany. They participate in a Cato Institute forum on school choice.

Friday

• South Korea’s Sohn Woo-hyun, secretary-general of the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation.

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

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