- The Washington Times - Friday, August 3, 2001

Changing history
The Romanian foreign minister is a dreamer.
He dreams of Romania's membership in NATO and the European Union, peace in the Balkans and a new era of stability for all of Europe.
"We have a gut intuition … , if we are wise and work hard, … we are looking at the longest cycle of peace and stability in Europe ever," Mircea Dan Geoana told editors and reporters at a luncheon at The Washington Times on Tuesday.
Mr. Geoana said Europeans are "tired after so many conflicts, tired after communism."
"We can change the history of mankind … and prove that democracies do not fight each other," he said.
Mr. Geoana, Romania's former ambassador to the United States from 1996 until last year, spent much of his time here pursuing NATO membership, only to see his country excluded in the 1999 round of expansion.
Now he is encouraged by President Bush's support for more NATO expansion and believes Romania, through its peacekeeping efforts in the Balkans, has proven itself to be the most qualified nation for membership.
On this visit, his third since becoming foreign minister on Jan. 1, Mr. Geoana has meetings scheduled with administration officials, and at the State Department and Congress, where he plans to meet more than a dozen lawmakers.
"I wanted to come before Congress goes on vacation. I wanted them to hear from us one more time," he said, referring to his NATO pitch.
Mr. Geoana also will discuss Romania's efforts to promote peace in Macedonia and democracy throughout the region.
Romania holds the yearlong presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the 55-nation human rights forum. In addition to his duties as foreign minister, Mr. Geoana serves as chairman of the group and is preparing for an OSCE foreign ministers meeting in December in Bucharest, the Romanian capital.
"This is a chance for Romania to show we have reached a certain level of maturity," he said of the OSCE presidency.
Romania, which regards President Reagan as "almost an icon," also holds dear Mr. Bush, especially after his latest European visit, Mr. Geoana said.
"President Bush has shown a tremendous interest in Europe," he said. "When he talked about a Europe whole and free from the Baltics to the Black Sea, this is history, my friends."

Iraq's old tricks
Kuwait suspects Iraq is planning terrorist attacks using the same pretense it employed 11 years ago when Saddam Hussein invaded his Gulf neighbor, the Kuwaiti Embassy said yesterday.
Shafeeq Ghabra, director of the embassy's Kuwait Information Office, said Iraqi newspapers are carrying false reports of an armed Kuwaiti opposition group that is poised to overthrow the government.
Kuwait fears Iraq could mount terrorist operations and call the attacks the work of the fictitious Kuwaiti resistance.
After Iraq invaded in 1990, a Kuwaiti collaborator claimed to be the leader of an opposition group that had asked Iraq to liberate Kuwait. That Kuwaiti was later convicted of treason and condemned to death.
Mr. Ghabra said an Iraqi newspaper that reflects government opinion called the 1990 invasion "a necessary [step] to foil and crush the dirty conspiracy" between Kuwait and the United States to depress global oil prices.
"Not learning from its mistakes is a hallmark of the Iraqi regime. Given the chance, the regime would try and annex Kuwait again," Mr. Ghabra said.
In Kuwait on Wednesday, government spokesman Sheik Ahmed Sabah said the Iraqi news reports of an armed Kuwaiti opposition make "us certain that there are intentions for a terrorist attack in Kuwait."

Norway's protest
The Norwegian Foreign Ministry yesterday summoned U.S. Ambassador John Gunderson to protest the death sentence against an American man who committed murder when he was a teen-ager.
Norway asked the United States to pardon Napoleon Beazley, who faces execution Aug. 15 in Texas for a murder committed during a 1994 carjacking when he was 17.
"It was underlined that Norway is against all forms of capital punishment, because this violates the inherent right to life," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The U.S. Embassy did not issue a comment.

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