- The Washington Times - Friday, December 24, 1999

Albright hosts iftar, Pressing Pakistan, and Eye on Africa

Albright hosts iftar

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright broke bread with American Muslims this week to celebrate Ramadan.
Mrs. Albright held a lavish "iftar" dinner to break the daylong fasting that Muslims practice during their holy month.
The iftar on Tuesday in the ornate Thomas Jefferson room was the first at the State Department. Other iftars have been held on Capitol Hill and the Pentagon.
"U.S. foreign policy is conducted in your name," Mrs. Albright told about 60 guests of the American Muslim Council, co-host of the event. "And like other citizens, you may not agree with everything we do, but you should at least feel a connection to it and know that your views are being heard."
Mrs. Albright, whose father was Jewish, also spoke of the need for religious and cultural tolerance.
She criticized the Russian assault on Chechnya, calling it "fundamentally misguided."
"Killing the innocent does not defeat terror. It feeds terror," she said.
Aly R. Abuzaakouk, the council's executive director, said, "The dinner was an opportunity to bring to light the foreign policy concerns of American Muslims, whether it is Chechnya or sanctions on Iraq.
"It is a civil and moral obligation for American Muslims to engage our government, and it is an obligation of our government to respond to the concerns of all Americans. This dialogue is critical."

Pressing Pakistan

Undersecretary of State Thomas R. Pickering says the United States will not "carry on business as usual" with Pakistan until the military government there shows signs of restoring democracy.
"A first step that would help restore confidence is to announce milestones and a clear timetable for a return to constitutional, civilian and democratic governance," he told a student forum at George Washington University earlier this month.
"The remedy for a flawed democracy is not a military coup," he added.
Gen. Pervez Musharraf in October overthrew Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whose government has been accused of widespread corruption and civil rights abuses.
"Pakistan can and should become a beacon of democracy in the Muslim world," Mr. Pickering said. "Until we see a restoration of democracy in Pakistan, we have made it clear we would not be in a position to carry on business as usual with Pakistani authorities."

Eye on Africa

Former Foreign Service Officer Joseph L. Sala has retooled his Internet magazine, Eye on Africa, with an updated Web site that makes it easier to use.
"We provide one-stop shopping for anyone interested in African news and information, from veteran diplomats in the field to high-school students working on term papers, to journalists working on deadline while reporting a big story," said Mr. Sala, the magazine's managing editor.
"The changes will allow readers to search the archives of past issues, provide options for purchasing subscriptions in both e-mail and hard-copy formats; and permit visitors to purchase single articles according to their needs."
The current edition includes articles on Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria and Zambia.
Subscriptions to the magazine at www.eyeonafrica.com begin at $250 per year for e-mail distribution.

Golf Kazakhstan

It may not be Pebble Beach, but diplomats who must relocate to Kazakhstan's new wind-swept capital of Astana have an 18-hole golf course to help make their tour more enjoyable.
"The capital needs embassies, and diplomats will ask what they can do in their free time. We built a golf course, equestrian center and stadium for this," Astana Mayor Adilbek Dzhaksybekov told Agence France-Presse.
So far only eight embassies have moved to the 2-year-old capital, which is plagued by frequent blizzards that sweep across the northern steppes of the Central Asian nation.
Most countries, including the United States, Britain, France and Germany, maintain their embassies in the former capital, Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city.

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