- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 31, 2005

U.S.-India summit

Indian-Americans and members of Congress are trying to schedule a joint session of the House and Senate when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh travels to Washington next month.

Mr. Singh is expected to hold talks with President Bush on July 18 as part of a three-day visit.

“The first state visit to the United States by Prime Minister Singh has already generated excitement among the Indian-American grass roots and on Capitol Hill,” said Sanjay Puri, chairman of the U.S. India Political Action Committee.

His committee has been working with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican and chairman of the House International Relations Middle East and Central Asia subcommittee, and other House members to arrange for Mr. Singh to address a joint session of Congress.

“We have to work together to see that Prime Minister Singh gets the due recognition in Congress,” she said.

Mr. Bush invited Mr. Singh for a White House visit when they met last year during the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to arrive here June 27 to continue planning for the prime minister’s visit. Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran was in Washington last month to make preliminary arrangements.

He told Indian reporters that his government is considering the establishment of a U.S.-India energy panel co-chaired by Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman and Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of India’s Planning Commission.

“We are also looking at other areas of cooperation, which could be promoted, for example, in the area of science and technology,” he told Aziz Haniffa of India Abroad.

Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen has been working on the visit since he arrived in Washington last year.

Abducted Japanese

U.S. Ambassador to Japan J. Thomas Schieffer wants to visit one of the sites where Japanese civilians were kidnapped by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s to demonstrate Washington’s concern for the fate of the abduction victims.

Mr. Schieffer revealed his plan to relatives of some of the victims after a meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan’s Kyodo News reported.

” ‘Washington will provide all-out support to help resolve the tragedy of the abductees and their family members,’ ” they quoted him as saying.

North Korea admitted to kidnapping 13 Japanese and returned five survivors in 2002. It said the others died, but Japan wants a full accounting of their fate.

Anti-hate envoys

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday named New York Gov. George E. Pataki to head a U.S. delegation of Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders to a European summit on discrimination next week.

The Conference on Anti-Semitism and Other Forms of Intolerance is sponsored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a 55-nation body that includes the United States, Canada, Russia, Europe and Central Asia. King Juan Carlos of Spain is scheduled to open the two-day conference on June 8 in Madrid.

The other members of the delegation are Stephan Minikes, ambassador to the OSCE; Ambassador Edward O’Donnell, special envoy for Holocaust issues; the Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, the Catholic archbishop of Denver and a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; Kamal Nawash, president of the Free Muslim Coalition Against Terrorism; Sander Gerber, a member of the board of directors of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee; Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center; and Rabbi David Zwiebel, executive vice president at Agudath Israel of America.

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

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