Embassy Row: Diplomats distressed

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The Saudi ambassador was among the first diplomats in Washington to publicly condemn the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon.

“What occurred in Boston is a heinous crime which contradicts the values of humanity,” Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir said.

Mr. Jubeir issued his statement Monday on the Saudi Embassy website as Boston police were questioning a Saudi national in connection to the roadside bombings, which killed three people, including an 8-year-old boy, and injured scores of others. Police on Tuesday said the Saudi man is not a suspect in the attack.

British Ambassador Peter Westmacott was shocked by the “awful news of explosions in Boston.”

“Our thoughts are with those injured or killed and their families,” he said.

The attack on the Boston race forced the British government to order tighter security for Sunday’s London Marathon.

Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, whose country is regularly targeted by terrorists, said: “Our … prayers go out to those impacted by the explosions.”

Afghan Ambassador Eklil Hakimi expressed his “deepest condolences” to the injured and relatives of the dead. He noted that Afghans understand terrorist violence. Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists mastered the use of roadside bombs in their fight to regain power after U.S.-led forces toppled the Taliban government for sheltering Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda henchmen.

“This kind of deplorable violence is all too familiar to my fellow Afghans,” he said. “We cannot let these cowardly acts diminish our resilience and drives toward a better tomorrow for all. Afghans will continue to work with our American partners to combat violence around the world.”

BEST AND BRIGHTEST

The Indian ambassador is urging Congress to adopt “generous” visa policies to attract highly educated foreigners to the U.S., but she is likely to be disappointed.

The so-called “Gang of Eight” senators crafting a comprehensive immigration bill are expected to propose a point system that some critics say would favor low-skilled, poorly educated immigrants over professionals, as The Washington Times reported Monday.

“A generous visa policy for highly skilled workers would help everyone; both [the United States and India] would come out winners,” Ambassador Nirupama Rao wrote this week in an article for USA Today.

Mrs. Rao complained that some U.S. proponents of open immigration policies actually have targeted Indians by urging restrictions on the issuance of special visas for professional workers.

“Information technology services would be disadvantaged by such changes,” she said, explaining that stricter policies would hurt both countries.

Indian high-tech companies benefit by opening U.S. offices, and the United States benefits from new jobs and more income from the foreign companies.

Indian high-tech corporations directly employ 50,000 Americans and indirectly support 280,000 others through the money the companies spend locally, she said.

“This, in turn, helps them both preserve and create jobs here in the U.S.,” Mrs. Rao wrote.

Annual bilateral trade between the two countries has skyrocketed to $100 billion from $35 billion a decade ago.

“Major U.S. companies look to India as an essential outlet for growth and vice versa,” she said. “As Congress considers immigration reform, this trajectory and the mutual benefit it brings should shape the conversation.”

• Email Embassy Row at jmorrison@washingtontimes.com. The column is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author
James Morrison

James Morrison

James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...

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