- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 16, 2001

Diplomatic aid

U.S. Ambassador Carol Moseley-Braun was showing some visitors the view of Wellington, New Zealand, from Mount Victoria yesterday when a helicopter buzzed overhead and crashed into the summit of the mountain.

"All of a sudden, there was this noise and debris," she told Wellington's Evening Post newspaper. "It was unthinkable. Debris just started flying."

Mrs. Moseley-Braun rushed to the aid of the pilot, Andrew Shaw, the only occupant of the Bell 204 helicopter.

Two American tourists, Brendan Foley and Kristen Douillard, both from Massachusetts, pulled Mr. Shaw from the wreckage.

The ambassador covered him with a blanket, and Julie Teffier, a Canadian doctor who was with the group, tried unsuccessfully to revive the 52-year-old pilot, who died from his injuries.

Mrs. Moseley-Braun, Illinois Democrat, was appointed ambassador two years ago, after she lost her re-election bid to the U.S. Senate.

Oslo 'is dead'

Former Israeli Ambassador Zalman Shoval believes President Clinton is a "good friend of Israel" but is pushing Israelis too far in his last-minute efforts to seal his presidential legacy with a Middle East peace deal.

Mr. Shoval, now serving as foreign policy adviser to Likud Party leader Ariel Sharon, told reporters last week that Mr. Clinton and other Western leaders must realize that the 1993 Oslo accords "are dead."

The accords were signed by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at the White House in Mr. Clinton's first major foreign policy achievement of his first term. Mr. Rabin was assassinated two years later.

"Oslo, of course, is dead, and [it] died in practice a long time ago," Mr. Shoval told the Orthodox Jewish weekly Kfar Habad last week. "As things stand now, the two sides may just not be ready for a final agreement."

Mr. Shoval said the conservative Mr. Sharon, who has a commanding lead over Prime Minister Ehud Barak in the Feb. 6 election, would not be bound by any "unconstitutional, illegitimate acts" by Mr. Barak in seeking a peace deal before the elections.

He called Mr. Clinton "a good friend of Israel and the Jewish people", but he is proposing "ideas for which Israel and the Jewish people will never forgive him."

Mr. Shoval also urged President-elect George W. Bush not to "rush into picking things up where Clinton left them" but to "reassess the peace process as a whole".

Mr. Shoval served as Israel's ambassador to the United States from 1990 to 1993 and from 1998 to 2000.

Romanian on stage

Former Romanian Ambassador Mircea Dan Geoana, who promoted his country as a Western-style democracy during his four years in Washington, is now turning his attention to a broader diplomatic stage.

Mr. Geoana, ambassador here from 1996 to 2000, was appointed foreign minister last month and is serving double duty as chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe during Romania's yearlong leadership of the group.

In outlining his policy goals, Mr. Geoana last week pledged to return OSCE observers to Chechnya and to help the Balkans recover from years of war.

The OSCE has been trying to return its observers to Chechnya since Russia forced them to withdraw in 1998.

"Our first priority is the immediate return of the OSCE Assistance Group to Chechnya," he told reporters at an OSCE meeting in Vienna, Austria.

"I immediately call on federal and local authorities, civilian and military, of the Russian Federation, to offer their total cooperation."

Mr. Geoana said the Balkan region has been "the Cinderella of Europe for too many centuries."

"We want to concentrate on southeastern Europe," he said. "We are going to use our chairmanship to promote the interests of the region."

Mr. Geoana was an effective ambassador during his four years in Washington, raising the profile of post-communist Romania.

He was appointed ambassador to the United States at age 37 to illustrate a new generation of Romanian statesmen.

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