- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 22, 2000

Appeal to Peru

The Organization of American States is nervously watching the government crisis in Peru and urging the military not to intervene.
OAS Secretary-General Cesar Gaviria this week called on "the political and social forces and on all citizens, in the face of a complex legal and political situation, to remain calm and vigilant, and to express their support for democratic institutions and constitutional order."
Mr. Gaviria, in a statement, added that he "hopes that in this difficult situation, the armed forces will maintain an irrevocable will to support Peruvian democracy and to serve as guarantors of the constitution."
Peru, frequently beset by military coups in the 20th century, saw its first democratic transfer of power in 1990 with the election of Alberto Fujimori, whose resignation Monday caused the latest constitutional confusion.
The additional resignations of his second vice president, Ricardo Marquez, also on Monday,and his first vice president, Francisco Tudela, a month ago, had muddled the line of succession. The opposition leader of Congress, Valentin Paniagua, was angling yesterday to fill in as acting president until a new president, to be elected in April, is sworn in July 28.
Mr. Gaviria called for Peruvians to preserve "the spirit of dialogue and compromise" that marked talks sponsored by the OAS earlier this year when a political scandal first surfaced that eventually led to Mr. Fujimori's resignation.
He said the OAS talks proved "to be the best instrument in dealing with the goals of preserving democracy and reinstating the full rule of law."

Mexico in Carolinas

Mexican Ambassador Jesus Reyes-Heroles brought a little bit of Mexico to the Carolinas this week with the opening of a Mexican consulate in Raleigh, N.C.
The consulate is the 44th such diplomatic mission Mexico has established in the United States.
"Opening a consular office in Raleigh has been a longtime project," the ambassador said at a ceremony in the North Carolina capital.
"I am glad Mexican nationals living around this area won't need to spend four hours traveling to Washington, D.C., in order to get assistance from their government."
About 250,000 Mexicans are employed in North and South Carolina, and the two states export about $3 billion a year in goods to Mexico.
"The new consular offices will help Mexico to strengthen the ties with Mexican nationals who work in the United States," Mr. Reyes-Heroles said. "It also will facilitate the assistance we provide to our nationals in labor, administrative and migration issues."

Hypothetical response

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher does not like to speculate on future events, but sometimes he will answer a hypothetical question when his boss wants to send a message.
Yesterday appeared to be such a case when a reporter asked whether Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright would meet the new president of Yugoslavia at next week's meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Vienna, Austria.
If so, would she tell President Vojislav Kostunica to hand over Slobodan Milosevic to the international war-crimes tribunal?
Mr. Boucher noted that the department has not announced any travel plans for Mrs. Albright to attend the Nov. 27-28 meeting.
"So that means I have to make this a hypothetical [response], which I'm not wont to do," he said.
However, he continued.
"Should President Kostunica and the secretary find themselves in Vienna at the same time, we'll have to see whether scheduling would permit arranging a meeting. We'll just have to see about that," he said.
"Our position on Milosevic and the war crimes issue has not changed. There is no statute of limitations."
Mr. Boucher added that prosecuting Mr. Milosevic is "part of the process of implementing the rule of law in Yugoslavia."
"We're looking to assist in any way we can to make sure the people of Yugoslavia see the dividend for adopting democracy and that we're able to move as swiftly as we can to provide the support and assistance that they need in these difficult circumstances that they face," he said.

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