- The Washington Times - Friday, March 10, 2000

Mozambique relief

African ambassadors, rallying to help Mozambique, are establishing a special flood relief fund and have already made personal cash contributions.

Djibouti Ambassador Roble Olhaye, dean of the African diplomatic corps, said a committee of ambassadors is working to get the necessary tax-exempt status for the fund and details for sending aid will be released soon.

The corps this week released a statement thanking the United States and other countries for the assistance they have sent to the flood-ravaged nation and urging more aid because much of southern African is beginning to suffer as well.

"We appeal for more urgent, generous and substantial support and financial help to enable Mozambique and the other afflicted nations in the region to cope with this unfortunate situation," the ambassadors said.

"This natural disaster, the worst in southern Africa's recorded history, has interrupted the economic, political and social miracle that Mozambique had created for itself," they added.

"Few realize that before this disaster Mozambique was one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

"Mozambique has made significant infrastructure investments in transportation, telecommunication and energy in order to establish a foundation for long-term economic growth.

"Unfortunately, these investments have been swept away in the rampaging floodwaters."

The ambassadors noted that the flooding is spreading to Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

Madagascar has been severely hit by a hurricane. Those countries will take years to recover, they said.

"Those Mozambicans who are lucky to be alive will find, when they return to their villages, that their farms, houses, animals and all that they have worked for all their lives have been swept away. The floodwaters have left them nothing to return to," the diplomats said.

Helms rejects diplomat

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms is angered over President Clinton's choice for assistant secretary of state for Europe.

The North Carolina Republican said this week he will oppose James Dobbins because he believes the career diplomat deliberately misled Congress in 1995 in testimony concerning left-wing death squads in Haiti.

"The administration knows that the Senate could not possibly confirm anyone who has conducted himself in such a fashion, but for some reason that I cannot fathom, some top officials of the administration insist on promoting Mr. Dobbins," Mr. Helms said in a statement. "I hope and suggest that they reconsider this position."

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright said through a spokesman she had the highest confidence in Mr. Dobbins and rejected accusations that he lied to Congress.

Mr. Dobbins has served the United States "extraordinarily well" and "so far as I know he has been fully cleared of all these allegations," said spokesman James P. Rubin.

Mr. Dobbins, now the senior diplomat in charge of U.S. policy in the Balkans, has produced documents that show the State Department cleared him of misleading the House International Relations Committee in 1995.

An earlier State Department investigation cited him for "reckless disregard" in his testimony about the murder of a conservative critic of Haiti's President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Mr. Helms also objected to Mr. Dobbins when he was selected to oversee policy for Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.

He wrote Mrs. Albright to suggest she find a diplomat "who has not been accused by the State Department's inspector general of lying to Congress."

U.N. taps Chinese judge

The United Nations has picked China's ambassador to Jamaica to serve as a judge on the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

Liu Daqun will replace another Chinese judge, Wang Tieya, who resigned because of poor health. He will serve out Mr. Wang's term, which ends Nov. 16, 2001, a U.N. spokesman said Thursday.

Mr. Liu, a former professor of international law, was selected by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan with the approval of the Security Council and General Assembly.

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