- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 29, 2001

Slovenia question
The new U.S. ambassador to Slovenia is warning the Balkan nation that settling property claims by American citizens could be a condition for its admission to NATO.
Ambassador Johnny Young's comment appears to contradict a statement from the previous ambassador, Nancy Ely-Raphel.
Mr. Young this week said the settlement of claims by 400 naturalized Americans whose property was confiscated by the Yugoslav communist government after World War II is "one of the conditions" for Slovenia to join the Western alliance. Slovenia separated from Yugoslavia in 1991.
Mr. Young, in a interview Monday in the Slovene newspaper Vecer, noted that the claimants were Slovene citizens at the time their property was nationalized.
"But they are now our citizens. Our duty is to facilitate a simple solution in which they will not be discriminated against," he said.
"We hope that the [Slovene] government will solve this question. This is also connected with one of the conditions for Slovenia to join NATO.
"One of the conditions is solving disputes. This can be interpreted as one of the criteria which needs to be fulfilled in order to expand the NATO alliance."
Mr. Young's comments contradict Mrs. Ely-Raphel, who said the property settlement was unconnected to Slovenia's quest for NATO membership.
In an interview with the same newspaper, she said the property issue is not "a condition for Slovenia to join NATO, but it is an open political question."
Mrs. Ely-Raphel urged the government to settle the dispute because the matter could be raised in the U.S. Senate if it remains unresolved when a NATO expansion treaty amendment comes before Congress.
She said NATO membership is "not a beauty contest" but a decision to be made by the legislatures of the NATO countries.

Losing ambassadors
Albania is lucky with ambassadors sent to the United States. They tend to come home after their tour of duty.
But many other ambassadors are choosing to stay abroad and take higher-paying jobs, and Foreign Minister Paskal Milo is calling them ingrates.
"The state has invested in them, in their studies and their specialities, but once they have finished their post, instead of returning to Albania, they prefer to get any work so long as it is well-paid," Mr. Milo told reporters in the Albanian capital, Tirana, yesterday.
"It is a loss for the country, and there is no way of preventing this serious leakage, which moreover harms the country's image."
In the past four years, at least 65 diplomats, including 10 ambassadors, have decided to stay in other countries instead of returning home.
Albanian ambassadors to the United States have returned to continue in public service.
Petrit Bushati, ambassador here from 1998 until April, is now director of North American affairs in the foreign ministry, said Nasi Mitrojorgji, a first secretary at the Albanian Embassy.
His predecessor, Lublic Dilja, is now a member of the Albanian parliament, he added.
The new ambassador, Fatos Tarifa, has been here since April.

Shevardnadze visit
President Bush will meet President Eduard Shevardnadze of the former Soviet republic of Georgia in Washington on Oct. 5.
The working visit "reflects the partnership between the United States and Georgia as both countries strive to strengthen Georgia's sovereignty, free market and democratic transformation; to advance Georgia's integration into the global economy; and to foster stability throughout the Caucasus region," the White House said in a statement.

Observer to Argentina
The Organization of American States has named the dean of the American University law school to observe the trial of 20 Argentine police officers charged in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center.
Claudio Grossman will oversee an OAS staff in Buenos Aires and report on the progress of the trial, set to begin Sept. 24. Mr. Grossman said he will report on the "impartiality of the trial and on whether justice is achieved."
The defendants are charged with assisting Muslim terrorists who bombed the Israeli Mutual Association, killing 86 children and adults. Hundreds more were injured.


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