- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 3, 2000

Saving the dolphins

The Mexican ambassador is disappointed that the United States has not yet reopened its market to Mexican tuna, even though Mexican fishermen meet international standards for protecting dolphins.

"We need to put an end to a situation that has become a source of tension and frustration in our bilateral relations," said Ambassador Jesus Reyes-Heroles.

The ambassador complained that the 12-year ban has cost Mexico millions of dollars in lost revenue.

"Formally speaking, the embargo on Mexican tuna has been lifted since 1999, but a court decision is still pending that will allow the use of the 'dolphin safe' label and guarantee effective market access," Mr. Reyes-Heroles said.

U.S. and Mexican officials held two days of talks last week on the situation, but little has changed.

"As has been recognized by the U.S. government, Mexico has undertaken great efforts to eliminate incidental dolphin deaths associated with tropical tuna fishing by enhancing and improving its methods and practices, while complying with both national and international obligations," the ambassador said.

Vietnamese legacy

U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Douglas Peterson has taken another step to help improve relations with the country that once held him a prisoner of war.

Mr. Peterson yesterday presented the communist government with the first batch of U.S. equipment to help clear unexploded land mines and other ordnance left over from the Vietnam War.

"This equipment will assist in preventing individuals being killed or maimed by weapons that were used in a conflict 30 years ago," he said.

He described the donation of the equipment as a "very, very important moment in the relations between the United States and Vietnam."

"This physical commitment that America has to removing unexploded ordnance and mines shows America's zeal, if you will, in the future to removing this important impediment to land use in Vietnam," he said.

"People in the U.S. have been concerned about the leftover unexploded ordnance and mines in Vietnam for many years."

Lt. Gen. Le Hai Anh, chief of Vietnam's general staff, accepted the equipment that included mine detectors, protective gear, Global Positioning System units and medical kits.

Bangladeshi visitor

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheik Hasina Wajed will travel to Washington later this month in the first official U.S. visit of a Bangladeshi government leader.

She will meet with President Clinton Oct. 17 on the second day of her three-day visit, the Bangladeshi government announced yesterday.

The official BBS news service said Sheik Hasina and Mr. Clinton will sign a number of agreements in the field of information technology, nuclear energy and the environment.

Government officials also said she will discuss the extradition of two convicted assassins of the country's founder, Sheik Mujibur Rahman, who was also Sheik Hasina's father. They are seeking political asylum in the United States.

Sheik Hasina's visit follows Mr. Clinton's trip to Dhaka in March, which was the first visit by an American president.

Congratulating Bahrain

U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain Johnny Young had a special message to convey to the emir of the Persian Gulf nation.

Mr. Young carried a congratulatory note Sunday from President Clinton, who applauded the appointments of four women, a Jew and other minorities to the emir's advisory council.

Mr. Clinton told Emir Sheik Hamad bin Issa Khalifa that he sees the "appointments to the consultative council of members from all categories of society as a positive step in boosting democracy."

He pledged "the full support of the United States to this initiative, which reflects the progressive approach adopted by the emir to bring Bahrain more prosperity at all levels," the official Gulf News Agency reported.

The appointment of a Jewish man, a Christian woman, three Muslim women and a businessman of Indian origin marks the first time females and non-Muslims have become members of the council created in 1992.

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