- The Washington Times - Monday, July 10, 2000

Prosperity summit

Japanese Ambassador Shunji Yanai hopes the Group of Eight summit in his country will mark the beginning of a century of peace and prosperity.

To further that goal, Japan plans to promote the complete elimination of Third World debt, he said.

"Japan is determined to take the lead on this issue," he told reporters last week in a preview of the talks in Japan's southern area of Kyushu and Okinawa.

The meeting of the seven leading industrialized nations plus Russia began Saturday with a finance ministers' meeting and continues on Wednesday and Thursday with a foreign ministers' meeting. President Clinton and other G-8 leaders meet for three days beginning July 21.

"We would like the … summit to deliver a positive message that the 21st century will be an age of greater prosperity, deeper peace of mind, and greater world stability for all," Mr. Yanai said.

The ambassador sought to put a positive spin on the summit, while downplaying reports that Japan is upset that Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright is sending her deputy, Strobe Talbott.

Mrs. Albright explained to Japan's foreign minister that she had to stay in Washington because of the Camp David talks between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Mr. Yanai said.

He denied that Japan feels snubbed by her decision and said his government expects Mr. Clinton to attend next week, even if the Middle East summit is still going on.

"I know Strobe Talbott very well, and he is a very well-experienced diplomat whom I respect and trust. So I think he will make positive contributions to the discussion," the ambassador said.

In addition to debt relief, Mr. Yanai said the summit will focus on information technology, economic and social development in poor countries, infectious diseases and other health issues, international crime, the environment and arms control.

Mr. Yanai said infectious diseases such as AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are "claiming countless lives in developing countries."

"These diseases are undermining the very foundation of economic development in those countries," he said.

"In order to deal with them effectively, it is imperative that the international community establish a new partnership among all stakeholders, including governments, [nongovernmental organizations], private enterprises, and international organizations."

"Some of these issues are quite new," he added, "and it will not necessarily be easy to establish new rules or models of cooperation, but there is no question about the importance of delivering messages which duly address people's anxieties in this rapidly globalizing age."

Indian visit expected

The United States expects Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to visit President Clinton in mid-September, according to U.S. Ambassador to India Richard Celeste.

The ambassador mentioned the possible visit in remarks to reporters in Calcutta on Friday, during which he also underscored the strong ties between the United States and India. He said the only problem is with India's nuclear program. India conducted nuclear tests in 1998, which led Pakistan to also detonate a nuclear device.

"The only place there is going to be an inhibition would be in military relationship. That is built around our ongoing dialogue about nonproliferation. But otherwise I see this to be a robust, growing partnership," he said.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:


• Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein, the political ally of the Irish Republican Army. He meets President Clinton and holds a 2 p.m. news conference at the National Press Club.


• Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who meet President Clinton in a Camp David summit to try to break the deadlock in Middle East peace talks.

• Robert John Carr, prime minister of New South Wales, Australia, who discusses urban development and preparations for the 2000 Olympic Games with invited guests at the National Geographic Society.

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