- The Washington Times - Monday, July 16, 2001

Indyk's paradox

Yasser Arafat can't be trusted, but Israelis have to work with the Palestinian leader. The Middle East peace process should not be abandoned just because it has failed.

That paradoxical wisdom comes from Martin Indyk, who is finishing his second tour of duty as U.S. ambassador to Israel.

Mr. Indyk, in a farewell address to an Israeli think tank last week, also called on Israelis to maintain restraint in the face of Palestinian violence, according to reports from Israel.

"Don't trust Arafat," he said. "But what choice have you got? It's better to deal with Arafat and get him to stop the violence," he added.

Dismissing some Israelis who call for the removal of Mr. Arafat, he said Israel is more likely to win the support of the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists groups than to find a "more reasonable and reliable" Palestinian leader.

Mr. Indyk also urged Israel to avoid "the sheer and visceral desire to teach the other side a lesson."

"Just because the Middle East peace process has failed doesn't mean it should be abandoned," he said.

Mr. Indyk first served in Israel from 1995 to 1997. He was reappointed in January 2000. President Bush plans to replace him with Daniel Kurtzer, now ambassador to Egypt.

Visit to Sudan

The head of the U.S. Agency for International Development is on a weeklong visit to Sudan to assess relief efforts in the 18-year-old civil war.

Andrew Natsios arrived in Sudan yesterday and is scheduled to visit the capital, Khartoum, the AID said last week in announcing his trip.

He will be the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit Sudan in 12 years, the agency said. The United States, which withdrew its diplomats in 1998, accuses Sudan of being a state sponsor of terrorism.

Mr. Natsios, who also serves as the Bush administration's special humanitarian coordinator for Sudan, will visit refugee camps in the south of the country, where rebels in the mainly Christian region have been fighting for independence from the Muslim government in the north.

"He will also examine current relief programs and efforts by the United States government and other donors to determine how current assistance programs can be improved," the AID said in a statement.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher last week said, "The United States has been the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Sudan during the span of the country's civil war.

"We've provided over $1 billion of assistance in the past decade and this humanitarian situation in the Sudan is of grave concern to us. It's very serious and Mr. Natsios is going out to see what we can do more."

Envoy to Saudi Arabia

President Bush has nominated a leading Texas lawyer and campaign donor to serve as ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Robert W. Jordan is a founding partner of Baker Botts LLP, which includes former Secretary of State James A. Baker III.

Mr. Baker and other lawyers from the firm assisted Mr. Bush in the presidential election recount in Florida.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:


• Mexican President Vicente Fox, who is on a private visit.

• Wakako Hironaika, a member of the Japanese Senate, and Gwen Malanghu, a member of the South African Parliament, will discuss their countries' positions on the Kyoto climate change treaty at an 11 a.m. news conference at the National Press Club.

• Abdullah Abdullah, the foreign minister of the deposed government of Afghanistan, addresses the Middle East Institute.


• Lyudmilla Karpenko, Irina Krasovskaya, Tatiana Klimova and Svetlana Zavadskaya, the wives of Belarusian officials and opposition leaders who have disappeared under the authoritarian regime of President Alexander Lukashenko, will address invited guests at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

• Pascal Lamy, a member of the European Commission, discusses trade issues at a 3 p.m. news conference at the National Press Club.


• Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak addresses invited guests at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

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