- The Washington Times - Friday, August 25, 2000

Death of a courier

The State Department yesterday mourned the death of a diplomatic courier, the only American on the plane that crashed in the Persian Gulf Wednesday.
Seth J. Foti, 31, was carrying diplomatic pouches for the Navy, department spokesman Richard Boucher said.
Mr. Boucher expressed the department's "heartfelt sorrow" over the death of the diplomat, who had been with the courier service only since April 1999. He was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Bahrain.
"His dedication to the mission of the courier service was unmatched and he was clearly an asset to the Department of State and the U.S. government," Mr. Boucher said.
"His friends and colleagues in the U.S. government will miss him very dearly."
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright is writing to his wife, Anisha, "to express her sympathies and, clearly, our embassy and people there are working with the families," Mr. Boucher said.
He said the Navy is working with the government of Bahrain to recover the diplomatic pouches Mr. Foti carried on Gulf Air Flight 72, which crashed in shallow waters killing all 143 persons on board.
Mr. Boucher said he did not know what was in the pouches, but the contents could be classified papers or even computers.
"He was on a diplomatic courier run," Mr. Boucher said. "He was escorting diplomatic cargo and we're working with the U.S. Navy to make sure that the cargo the pouches are retrieved."
Mr. Boucher said the United States employs 97 diplomatic couriers stationed in Bahrain, Germany, Ivory Coast, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Thailand. There are also courier offices in Washington and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
"The couriers ensure the secure movement of classified U.S. government materials across international borders," he said.
"They carry diplomatic papers, files, classified materials and pouches."
The couriers could also accompany equipment and construction materials.
Mr. Boucher said he knew a courier who accompanied an entire prefabricated embassy to Turkmenistan.

Victim of hate

Slovak Ambassador Martin Butora is shocked and outraged over the murder of a Slovak Gypsy woman by three thugs who broke into her house and beat her with baseball bats.
"Precisely 32 years ago, Soviet troops, because of their hatred, invaded my country. Today communism is dead, but the forces of hatred are still alive," Mr. Butora said yesterday in a statement.
Anastazia Balazova, a mother of eight, was attacked Sunday in the northern city of Zilina and died two days later.
Violence against Gypsies, or Roma, is common in Eastern Europe, according to human rights organizations. The Slovak media report frequent attacks on Gypsies, who make up 350,000 to 500,000 of the country's population of 5.4 million.
The Slovak parliament yesterday held a moment of silence in memory of the slain woman.
Mr. Butora said, "While I believe that all efforts will be undertaken to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice, I join all those who condemn this despicable and heinous crime and raise my voice to strongly oppose this barbarous act.
"I raise my voice to reconfirm my deepest faith that not discrimination, not violence, not exclusion but inclusion, tolerance and integration are the key words that form the backbone of a democratic society and bond and glue different cultures and nationalities together.
"Anastazia Balazova became another innocent victim of intolerance and violence. I believe that the strength of the voice of all those condemning this crime might soothe the pain of [her] family whom I quietly join in their grief."

FBI in Romania

U.S. Ambassador to Romania James Rosapepe yesterday praised Romania as a partner in fighting crime, as he attended the opening of an FBI office in the capital, Bucharest.
"Romania proves once again to be a key partner in efforts by European countries and the United States in tackling organized and cross-border crimes," he said.
Two FBI agents will assist Romanian authorities in fighting organized crime and terrorism.

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