- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 31, 2001

Olympic criticism

Greek Ambassador Alexandre Philon defended his country's fight against terrorism when he was called this week to the State Department, where officials complained about remarks by the speaker of the Greek parliament.

"The ambassador talked about the issue of terrorism and the relationship between our two countries," Greek Embassy spokesman Achilles Paparsenos said yesterday.

Mr. Philon also "expressed the widespread feelings in Greece that [U.S.] criticism is unjust," Mr. Paparsenos added.

The State Department summoned the ambassador on Monday to lodge complaints against Apostolos Kaklamanis, the speaker of parliament who criticized a U.S. congressional delegation for questioning Greece's ability to provide security for the 2004 Olympic Games.

The Greek press said State Department officials expressed "surprise and disappointment" at Mr. Kaklamanis' remarks.

Mr. Kaklamanis, in a statement last week, said, "It is inconceivable that the U.S. should play the role of prosecutor and Greece the accused, and the struggle against terrorism be used to apply pressure, as in the case of the Olympic Games."

The parliamentary leader, known as a critic of the United States, was responding to a statement issued by the congressional delegation, led by New York Republican Benjamin A. Gilman, former chairman of the House International Relations Committee.

The delegation said Greece faces a "challenge" in providing security for the games, according to news reports from Greece.

The United States has criticized Greece in the past for what Washington considered a lax policy on combatting terrorism. Recently, Greece and the United States have been cooperating, notably with an agreement last year with the FBI to combat organized crime and terrorism in Greece.

However, Greece also suffered a setback last year when a British diplomat was killed by members of the left-wing terrorist group November 17.

The terrorists have claimed credit for more than 20 assassinations over the past 25 years, but Greece has failed to arrest any suspects.

The Greek press yesterday noted that the government distanced itself from the diplomatic dispute by refusing to comment on Mr. Kaklamanis' remarks.

Cloudy sunshine policy

The Bush administration has urged South Korea to change the name of its "Sunshine Policy" for diplomatic engagement with communist North Korea, according to reports out of Seoul.

Richard Armitage, expected to be nominated as deputy secretary of state, suggested calling its efforts an "engagement policy" in an apparent signal of dissatisfaction with North Korean responses to South Korea's diplomatic outreach.

Mr. Armitage broached the matter in a meeting last week in Washington with aides to South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and members of his Millennium Democratic Party (MDP).

"Armitage suggested Seoul use the term 'engagement policy' instead of 'Sunshine Policy,' " Agence France-Presse reported, quoting a South Korean government source.

AFP added that "South Korean media said Armitage had warned that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il had abused President Kim's 'Sunshine Policy' to get outside aid without changing his hard-line policies."

South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported that Lee Bu-Young, an MDP vice president, quoted Mr. Armitage as saying, " 'Unless North Korea achieves transparency in its production and exports of missiles, it will not receive a single penny from us.' "

Jordan pays a visit

Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul-Illah Khatib yesterday met Secretary of State Colin Powell to discuss the deadlocked Middle East peace talks and other regional issues.

"It was a positive initial meeting. They talked about the excellent bilateral relationship, Jordan's economic situation, … the peace process, Iraq and the sanctions against Iraq," said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher.

They also agreed that the Jordanian parliament and the U.S. Congress should approve a free-trade agreement that the two governments signed last year.

Mr. Khatib is the third foreign minister Mr. Powell has met since taking office.

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