- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 8, 2000

Yugoslav diplomacy

The United States and Yugoslavia are moving quickly to reestablish diplomatic relations, broken off last year during the war in Kosovo.

Washington is eager to reward Yugoslavia for the defeat of Slobodan Milosevic, who led the country to disaster in Balkan wars in the last decade and faces international war-crimes charges.

"We're working … with the new government," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters this week.

Representatives from both countries are reviewing the conditions of their diplomatic properties.

The Yugoslav Embassy was located at 2410 California St. NW.

"We're doing the walk-throughs of our property and their property," Mr. Boucher said. "I don't have a final moment at which this will come to fruition, but it could be fairly soon."

Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Miroljub Labus yesterday told reporters in the capital, Belgrade, that re-establishing diplomatic relations will "happen very fast."

He announced that Yugoslavia is working to reopen embassies in Britain, Germany and France, which were also closed because of the war.

Mr. Labus said the new government has recalled Mr. Milosevic's ambassadors to the United Nations and Austria in what is likely a first step in a major diplomatic shake-up to replace diplomats of the old regime.

Mr. Labus said Yugoslavia will also seek admission to the Council of Europe.

Embassy still at risk

The U.S. Embassy in Indonesia reopened yesterday under tighter security, but the threat that closed it two weeks ago still exists.

The embassy issued a statement informing Indonesian and U.S. citizens that the diplomatic mission has restored the visa, passport and other public services that were suspended Oct. 24.

"The embassy still believes that a specific threat may be directed at embassy facilities," the notice said.

"The cooperation of Indonesian security authorities has permitted reopening to the public.

"We will continue to evaluate the situation and take further steps as necessary."

Robert Gelbard, the U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, is in the United States on family business and is expected to brief the State Department on the tensions in the most-populous Muslim nation.

Mr. Gelbard has been the target of criticism from Indonesian politicians, who complain about his abrasive character and accuse him of interfering in the country's internal affairs.

Mexico moves quickly

Mexican President-elect Vicente Fox wasted no time yesterday in agreeing to meet with the winner of yesterday's presidential election in the United States. He also agreed to meet with the loser.

Jeffrey Davidow, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, talked with Mr. Fox for about 45 minutes on Monday and announced yesterday that Al Gore and George W. Bush would each "hold a meeting with Fox," according to reports from Mexico.

The United States will send representatives to attend Mr. Fox's inauguration Dec. 1, but Mr. Davidow did not say who plans to make up the delegation.

Mr. Fox, of the National Action Party, ended 71 years of political domination by the Institutional Revolutionary Party in the July 2 presidential election.

Ross calls it quits

Veteran Middle East envoy Dennis Ross is apparently the first U.S. diplomat to announce he will not stay on in a new presidential administration.

Mr. Ross, who began his service under President Bush, "made clear his views [Monday] night, [and] we have nothing to add," a State Department official told the Reuters news agency yesterday. The official was referring to a remark Mr. Ross made in response to a question after a speech to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council.

" 'I have done this for a long time, and while my own commitment to working on it has not flagged, I think the impact it has had on my family is something I have to take account of,' " the official quoted Mr. Ross as saying.

" 'So I intend to work through this administration, but I don't intend to stay on for the next one.' "

He did not link his decision to the current Israeli-Palestinian violence, Reuters said.

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