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Embassy Row

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 22, 2008

DEFENDING ECUADOR

The U.S. ambassador in Ecuador defended the leftist South American government against charges that it has ties to Marxist rebels in neighboring Colombia, a strong U.S. ally.

Ambassador Linda Jewell on Sunday told the El Universo newspaper in Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city, that Washington "in no way" believes that the government of President Rafael Correa has any links to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (known by its Spanish initials, FARC).

Mrs. Jewell, who leaves office Tuesday after three years in Ecuador, added that she believes Mr. Correa has worked harder than his predecessor, Alfredo Palacio, to secure the country's northern border with Colombia, although FARC guerrillas still have camps in Ecuador's border area.

Last week in a radio interview in the capital, Quito, the ambassador promised that the United States will continue to help Ecuador eliminate the rebel hideouts.

"We will continue to assist the government of Ecuador as far as we can in protecting the northern border," she said.

Tensions between Mr. Correa and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe increased in March when Colombian troops raided a rebel camp in Ecuador and killed the second-highest ranking rebel leader, Luis Edgar Devia Silva, known by his nom de guerre, "Raul Reyes."

Colombian troops captured the rebel's laptop computer, which revealed links with Venezuela's anti-American president, Hugo Chavez, according to the Colombia government. The computer also showed that the rebels had funneled money to Mr. Correa's presidential campaign, the Colombia government said.

Mr. Correa denounced the raid and broke diplomatic relations with Colombia. The Ecuadorean president also belittled Colombia's dramatic rescue of 15 hostages from a FARC camp in Colombia earlier this month.

The operation was more "good luck than a good decision," he told Ecuador's state-owned newspaper, El Telegrafo.

SEA POWER

The U.S. ambassador to Ireland is trying to persuade the Irish to harness sea power to generate electricity and end their dependence on coal and gas.

Ambassador Thomas Foley, a venture capitalist before President Bush sent him to Dublin two years ago, added that Ireland, with more than 3,000 miles of coastline, has the potential to be the world's leading center for wave power and attract more foreign investment.

"Ireland has probably the best natural market in the world for developing ocean-energy potential," he told the Marine Institute in Galway last week.

Mr. Foley explained that Ireland could be the "cluster" center, just as Detroit was for the automobile, Pittsburgh for steel or Silicon Valley for computer chips.

"Once a critical mass of knowledge, suppliers and human capital has been established … it makes more sense for new aspirants to join the emerging cluster than begin a new one," he said.

Mr. Foley added that Ireland has little choice but to look to the oceans. The Irish government is unlikely to meet its Kyoto climate change goals without bankrupting the economy, and nuclear energy has too little public or political support. However, he added that some Kyoto supporters are beginning to realize that the treaty will fail unless it includes developing nations like India and China.

"I notice, for example, that the backers of the Euro-centric Kyoto approach to climate change are begrudgingly recognizing that an international accord that is going to be successful must include all major polluters," he said.

Mr. Foley drove home his point with an example about hybrid cars.

"If everyone in the world today who drives a car switched to a Toyota Prius, global energy consumption would drop by less than 10 percent," he said.

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