- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 15, 2000

Room for the right?

A conservative member of the French parliament insists there is room for the right in European politics, despite the outrage created by Austria's Joerg Haider.

Christine Boutin of the Union for French Democracy believes European conservatives have lost elections because they have abandoned core right-wing support for pro-family and pro-life issues.

"If one political party could recapture [those issues], it would get support. Then little by little, it would recover," Mrs. Boutin told editors and reporters at The Washington Times.

Mrs. Boutin, who visited the newspaper Friday and is continuing her Washington visit this week, is considering running as a candidate in the French presidential elections in 2002.

She said she hopes to use the election campaign to promote her party's platform, even if prospects for victory are slim. She estimated she might get about 10 percent of the vote.

Mrs. Boutin said she was angered by the actions of the European Union, which politically isolated Austria after Mr. Haider's Freedom Party entered a coalition government.

"I was shocked by the actions of France and the EU," she said.

Mrs. Boutin noted that Mr. Haider's party received 27 percent of the vote, while French President Jacques Chirac received 21 percent in his last election.

"Who has the right to speak?" she asked. "[Mr. Haider] was elected by 27 percent of the vote, and democracy is founded on universal democracy."

Mrs. Boutin insisted she is not defending Mr. Haider's controversial statements about Hitler's Germany.

"I am not an extremist. I am not anti-Semitic," she said. "I set my judgment on what he does, not what he says."

However, she said the opposition to Mr. Haider implies that "if you are not politically correct, you do not have the right to exist."

A deal for Israel?

The U.S. ambassador to Israel is proposing a new security deal for Israel, if it reaches peace treaties with Syria and the Palestinians.

Ambassador Martin Indyk floated the idea over the weekend as a way "to increase Israel's sense of security," a U.S. Embassy spokesman told reporters in Jerusalem.

"The idea of a mutual defense treaty is one that Ambassador Indyk has given thought to for a long time. The concept was meant to be a treaty that would take place only as part of a comprehensive, regional peace agreement," spokesman Larry Schwartz told the Reuters news agency.

"It is not currently an expression of U.S. policy," he added.

No other details were given of the proposed defense pact, but Israel reacted cautiously anyway.

An Israeli security source said Israel would resist the idea if it limited Israel's freedom to respond to attacks.

"We would have to coordinate with the United States for every move we are about to make. This is a problem because it would limit our ability to strike when we need to," the source told Reuters.

New post for Vorontsov

Yuli Vorontsov, the veteran diplomat who served both the Soviet Union and a democratic Russia, is the leading candidate for a new position at the United Nations.

Mr. Vorontsov is under consideration for the post of coordinator for the return of Kuwaiti citizens and property missing since Iraq's invasion in 1990, the Reuters news agency reported yesterday.

The 70-year-old diplomat served as the Soviet ambassador to the United Nations beginning in May 1990 and continued after the collapse of the Soviet Union as Russia's U.N. envoy until 1994, when he was named ambassador to the United States.

He left Washington last year to take up the post of U.N. special envoy, with the rank of undersecretary-general, for issues relating to the former Soviet republics in the Commonwealth of Independent States.

No Pakistan letter

Sen. Jesse Helms is not drafting a letter urging President Clinton to visit Pakistan on his South Asia visit next week, according to a spokesman for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Embassy Row last week noted that a Pakistan newspaper had reported Mr. Helms, North Carolina Republican and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was organizing such an appeal to the White House.

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