- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 20, 2001

Cyprus diplomacy

Secretary of State Colin Powell has assured Cyprus that the Bush administration is committed to resolving the ethnic division of the island, a goal that has eluded generations of statesmen.

"We fully support the ongoing U.N. efforts to achieve a comprehensive settlement," Mr. Powell told Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Cassoulides in a letter.

"Let me assure you that the U.S. will also remain engaged in efforts to facilitate a just and lasting settlement on the Cyprus issue."

Donald Bandler, the U.S. ambassador to Cyprus, delivered the letter last week.

Negotiations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots are deadlocked after five recent attempts by the United Nations to encourage direct talks between leaders of the two communities.

The Greek-Cypriot authority is the internationally recognized government of Cyprus, while the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is recognized by Turkey.

The Turkish Cypriots, who want equal recognition with the Greek Cypriots in any reunited nation, have refused to continue the talks, calling them a waste of time.

Business in Guyana

The new U.S. ambassador to Guyana says the poor South American country could attract American dollars if it adopted laws protecting foreign investors.

Ambassador Ronald Godard said Washington is ready to help as he presented his diplomatic credentials to President Bharrat Jagdeo last month.

"As Guyana moves toward national elections, I trust that the people of this country will value and support the efforts to strengthen their democratic tradition," he said.

He urged the government to adopt the necessary reforms to investment and ownership laws to attract foreign capital.

"The investors are out there, and Guyana has both the human capital and the resources to make a profitable union," he said.

Mr. Jagdeo said his government is committed to democratic principles and has invited outside observers to monitor parliamentary elections on March 19.

Former President Jimmy Carter will lead a U.S. observer team.

"My government is committed to … strengthening democratic institutions," Mr. Jagdeo said.

Message to Belarus

Ambassador David T. Johnson believes Belarus citizens may well vote out their authoritarian leader if a presidential election to be scheduled later this year is free and fair.

Mr. Johnson, the U.S. envoy to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, notes that public-opinion polls show voters would likely reject Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko in the election.

"They want to elect their next president in free and fair elections that the international community will recognize as such," Mr. Johnson said at an OSCE meeting in Vienna, Austria, last week.

"The United States will recognize and accept the winner of such free and fair elections as will others. We urge the Belarussian authorities to create the conditions necessary for free and fair elections and to be prepared to accept the results."

He said the government "must cease persecution of political opponents, account for the disappeared, release political prisoners, respect freedom of assembly and workers rights, grant the opposition access to the state media, cease harassment of the independent media and implement a democratic electoral law and process."

New Helsinki member

Sen. Gordon H. Smith has been appointed to the congressional panel that monitors human rights issues in Europe.

"From religious and sexual persecution to the mistreatment of racial and ethnic minorities, I plan to use my seat on the commission to defend the basic protections that all people have a right to expect," the Oregon Republican said.

The congressional Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, informally called the Helsinki commission, is composed of nine members from the Senate and nine from the House, and one representative from each of the State, Defense and Commerce departments.

The commission is the U.S. affiliate of the Austrian-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

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