- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 21, 2001

Burghardt to Vietnam?
A presidential statement yesterday announced that the U.S. envoy in Taiwan will become the next U.S. ambassador to Vietnam.
However, the announcement came not from President Bush, but from Chen Shui-bian, president of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
Mr. Chen upstaged Mr. Bush by telling reporters in Taiwan that Raymond Burghardt, a career diplomat, "will soon become the U.S. ambassador to Vietnam."
A spokeswoman for Mr. Burghardt told the Associated Press that she could not confirm that he would be nominated for the post.
The White House would not comment, but Embassy Row has learned that an announcement on Mr. Burghardt is expected soon.
Mr. Burghardt has been director of the American Institute in Taiwan for two years. The institute has served as an unofficial embassy since Washington established diplomatic relations with China.

Lifting sanctions?
The State Department is sending mixed messages about whether the United States will lift sanctions against Pakistan as long as it has a military government.
Washington imposed some sanctions after Pakistan conducted nuclear weapons tests in 1998 and others after Gen. Pervez Musharraf overthrew an elected, if corrupt, government a year later.
State Department spokesman Philip Reeker last week insisted that sanctions "cannot be lifted until [President Bush] determines that a democratically elected government has taken office."
But Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told reporters on a trip to Australia last week that the sanctions imposed because of the nuclear tests "will be coming off."
"In our system, it's not just a matter for the president to decide. It will be something that we will consult with Congress," Mr. Armitage said.
"I have begun the consultations along with some of my colleagues. With the advice of Congress, they will be coming off. This is some of the sanctions," he said, according to a transcript provided by the Washington-based Internet news service, Information Times.
He added that the sanctions imposed after the nuclear tests "would be the first to go."
Mr. Armitage said that removing some of the sanctions will help stabilize Pakistan and prevent it from "becoming more under the influence" of the radical Islamic Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
"We have some similar sanctions on Pakistan and some different [from the sanctions on India], because Pakistan is not a democracy. When Musharraf did away with the democratic process, no matter how shaky it was, then some other sanctions came into play," Mr. Armitage said.
"But clearly we have to move somewhere with Pakistan. The United States is not interested in Pakistan becoming more under the influence of Afghanistan. There has to be a way out for Pakistan. We are going to try to play an effective role."

Bangladesh votes
The U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh yesterday welcomed the announcement that national elections will be held Oct. 1 and expressed confidence the vote will be free and fair.
Ambassador Mary Ann Peters also urged Bangladeshis to avoid violence during the campaign.
"We are confident free elections will be held on Oct. 1," Mrs. Peters told reporters in the capital, Dhaka. "Bangladeshis want to go to the hustings, and Washington always supports the democratic process."
She urged the country's caretaker government to control political violence that has claimed 40 lives in recent weeks.
"Certainly violence is not compatible with free and fair elections," Mrs. Peterson said. "Bangladesh will be able to hold free elections, as it has already done in 1991 and 1996."
The ambassador's comment was her latest appeal for the South Asian nation to avoid political turmoil, even though her earlier statements were denounced as interference in Bangladesh's internal affairs.
In May, Sheik Hasina Wajed, then prime minister, criticized Mrs. Peterson's "sermons," and Imran Saleh Prince of the opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP) advised the ambassador "not to dictate to us."
Bangladesh's election commission announced Sunday the date for voters to pick a new government to replace the temporary one established July 15 after parliament's five-year term ended.


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