- The Washington Times - Monday, January 15, 2001

OAS back to Peru

Cesar Gaviria is heading back to Peru to try to help that troubled nation rebuild its fragile democracy.

The secretary-general of the Organization of American States has traveled to Peru several times since a political crisis first developed last summer with the disputed re-election of Alberto Fujimori, who resigned in a government scandal in November. An interim president is ruling Peru until new elections in April.

Mr. Gaviria, who leaves today, said, "Based on the changes in circumstances in the last two months, we need to explore how the OAS can best assist the country now.

"Peru needs the full support of the international community in the coming months, as it prepares to hold new presidential elections."

Mr. Gaviria will be accompanied by Canada's OAS ambassador, Peter Boehm, as they meet President Valentin Paniagua, Foreign Minister Javier Perez de Cuellar and other government and opposition leaders. Canada holds the chairmanship of the OAS General Assembly.

The OAS has worked to foster a democratic dialogue among political leaders and help restore confidence in a government that was damaged by Mr. Fujimori's autocratic rule.

Mr. Fujimori resigned the presidency in Tokyo, where he made a stopover after attending an economic summit in Brunei.

Interviewed on TV Asahi in Tokyo yesterday, Mr. Fujimori invited Peruvian investigators to question him in Japan but said he would return to Peru only if cleared of all corruption charges. He said any return also would depend on the outcome of the April 8 presidential and legislative elections.

Japan determined last month that, because Mr. Fujimori's parents registered his birth at a Japanese consulate in Peru, he is a Japanese citizen and legally able to remain in the country indefinitely.

'Emotional decision'

Richard Celeste, the U.S. ambassador to India, believes the United States acted emotionally when it blocked the visit of a top Indian nuclear scientist after India conducted nuclear tests in 1998.

"With the wisdom that comes with the passage of time, it was a mistake," Mr. Celeste said. "It was an emotional decision. Future misunderstandings should not spill over into the area of scientific cooperation."

The Clinton administration imposed sanctions on India as well as Pakistan, which conducted its own nuclear tests in response to its regional rival.

The sanctions blocked Indian scientist Rajagopala Chidambaram, director of India's Atomic Energy Commission at the time, from attending a nuclear energy conference in Arlington.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• Kassahun Ayele, Ethiopia's minister of trade and industry, who leads a 40-member trade delegation that meets with U.S. officials and participates in a business forum at the Ethiopian Embassy.

• Members of Brazil's House of Representatives Paulo Octavio, Agnello Queiroz and Jorge Pinheiro.

Tomorrow

• Gabriel Valdes, chairman of the Chilean Senate's external affairs committee, who addresses invited guests at the Inter-American Development Bank. Mr. Valdes, a former foreign minister and former undersecretary general of the United Nations, will lecture on globalization, politics and ethics.

Wednesday

• Raul Munoz Leos, general director of Mexican Petroleum (Pemex), who discusses oil issues with invited guests at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

• Todung Mulya Lubis, an Indonesian human-rights lawyer, who joins a Woodrow Wilson Center panel discussion on democracy and human rights in Indonesia today.

• Svante Cornell of Sweden's Uppsala University, who participates in a discussion on "The South Caucasus Under Renewed Russian Pressure" at the Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.

Thursday

• Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, who delivers the luncheon address at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.


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