- The Washington Times - Friday, April 14, 2000

McKinney diplomacy

If a diplomat is someone who talks a lot but says nothing, Cynthia McKinney is no diplomat. That is a compliment in a town where cheap talk is a major industry.

The Democratic congresswoman from Georgia Thursday scolded a Chinese diplomat for China's human rights record and program of forced abortions, expressed opposition to an Africa trade bill and criticized President Clinton's "tremendously failed" Africa policy.

Ms. McKinney sided with street demonstrators opposed to global free trade and called for a complete write-off of Third World debt.

At times combative, candid and humorous, Ms. McKinney told a breakfast meeting of ambassadors and other diplomats that the United States needs to pay more attention to world affairs and develop a foreign policy aimed at helping the poor.

Ms. McKinney, a member of the House International Relations Committee, said when she was first elected in 1992, she did not even know where Bosnia was. Now she deals with every region of the world.

"I was forced to become an expert, today on Cuba. Tomorrow, it could be Croatia or Bulgaria," she said.

Ms. McKinney denounced U.S. arms sales to dictators.

"I know I am in suspect company," she added teasingly to the meeting's host, lobbyist Edward von Kloberg, who has represented Mobutu Sese Seko of the former Zaire and other Third World strongmen, as well as many emerging democracies.

On Africa, Ms. McKinney said, "I'm sorry to say this administration has no Africa policy or what it has has tremendously failed."

Zhang Ke Yuan, a Chinese diplomat, got a lecture on human rights when he asked her if she would support normal trade policies with China.

"My priority is human rights," she responded, "and I have grave concerns."

She criticized China's policy of forced abortions against women who have more than one child.

Referring to the demonstrators who plan to disrupt the weekend meetings in Washington of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, she boasted, "Those are my people."

Noting that as a black woman she shook up politics in Georgia, Ms. McKinney added, "I don't owe anybody except those people out there on the streets."

Ms. McKinney, a member of the human rights subcommittee, said with a sigh that the afternoon session would be on Elian Gonzalez.

"I have been trying to avoid getting involved in that issue," she said.

Cyprus revisited

Embassy Row knows it goofed when both sides of a column item call in corrections.

Cyprus Embassy spokesman Miltos Miltiadou pointed out the misidentification of Thomas G. Weston Thursday as President Clinton's nominee to be ambassador to Cyprus. Mr. Weston has been nominated for ambassadorial rank while he serves as the State Department's coordinator for Cyprus.

Ahmet Erdengiz, the representative here for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), kindly added, "Quite a few people in Cyprus also made that mistake."

Mr. Erdengiz, however, called to correct a misperception of his side's position in talks with the Greek-Cypriot administration, the internationally recognized government of Cyprus.

Embassy Row said the TRNC, which has diplomatic relations only with Turkey, is demanding international recognition.

The TRNC position is more subtle. He said the TRNC wants the United States, the United Nations and other international organizations to recognize only that the Greek-Cypriot administration does not represent Turkish-Cypriots.

"The idea is not international recognition but recognition that the government of Greek-Cypriots is not the government of all of Cyprus," he said.

Turkish-Cypriots proclaimed a separate state in 1983.

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