- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 17, 2001

Defining sovereignty
Campaign-finance reform, stem-cell research, the soap-opera travails of Rep. Gary A. Condit and other issues of the day made headlines in Washington last week, as a group of diplomats gathered to debate a more fundamental matter national sovereignty.
The discussion was partly a history lesson as the Hungarian ambassador raised the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 and a Scottish lawyer referred to the Declaration of Arbroath of 1320, our correspondent Emily Charnock reports.
The forum, sponsored by the Association of Third World Affairs, also dealt with modern tragedies, such as Macedonia's struggle to maintain its national authority against an ethnic-Albanian uprising.
"Empires broke up. Nation-states emerged," said Hungarian Ambassador Geza Jeszensky, as he noted the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years' War in Europe and laid the foundation for the modern state.
"After Westphalia, sovereign states had absolute power over their internal affairs. Interference from the outside was practically nonexistent," he said.
Alison Duncan, the U.S. representative of the Scottish National Party, argued for the restoration of an independent Scotland, which has been part of Great Britain since 1707, when the Scottish and English parliaments united. Scots approved a referendum in 1999 that restored their parliament with limited powers under British national sovereignty.
The Scottish Parliament has some control over taxation, education and other local issues, but not defense, monetary and foreign policy.
"Scotland makes peaceful attempts to attain power," she said. "We cross ballot cards, not swords in our question for independence."
Ms. Duncan referred to the Declaration of Arbroath as establishing that "sovereignty lies with the people of Scotland."
The medieval declaration was an appeal to the pope for recognition of Scotland's ancient claims of independence and condemnation of England's repeated invasions.
C.J. Cheng of Taiwan's Washington office noted that he does not have diplomatic status because the United States recognizes communist China.
"Sovereignty does not belong to any one person or party, but resides in everyone in our country," he said.
Taiwan's long separation from China has resulted in the establishment of a capitalist democracy and higher standard of living on the island nation, he said.
China's refusal to renounce the use of force to exert sovereignty over Taiwan has bred distrust of the communist mainland government, he said.
"All we ask is a secure environment and the recognition of our achievements," Mr. Cheng added.
Ljubica Acevska, the former ambassador from Macedonia, said the ethnic-Albanian rebellion is an attempt to undermine the country's constitution, which refers to a "national state of the Macedonian people" with equal rights for minorities.
Slovenian diplomat Jurij Refelj said small countries in Europe have difficulty maintaining their national character and must take a "more pragmatic approach to sovereignty."
His country declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, but recognizes that "our sovereignty is already limited by the vicinity and size" of the European Union.
Slovenia, he added, believes it must join the EU to preserve its culture within an integrated Europe.

New at IRI
A specialist in foreign investment and trade policy is the new president of the International Republican Institute.
George A. Folsom, an international economist and lawyer based in Washington, "brings to IRI a vast depth of knowledge and experience in the international political and economic arenas," said the institute's chairman, Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.
Mr. Folsom replaces Lorne W. Craner, who was appointed assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor.
Mr. Folsom is an adjunct fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts.
He served as deputy assistant Treasury secretary for international development under President Bush's father and as an international security analyst at the Pentagon under President Reagan.

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