- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 26, 2001

Blessed embassy
The leader of the Serbian Orthodox Church called for peace and understanding as he blessed the Yugoslav Embassy this week and expressed hope for improved relations between his country and the United States.
The embassy reopened in March, two years after Yugoslavia closed it to protest the U.S.-led NATO bombing campaign against the former regime of Slobodan Milosevic.
Mr. Milosevic now faces war-crimes charges, and Yugoslavia has a democratically elected government headed by President Vojislav Kostunica.
Patriarch Pavle told Embassy Row that he asked for God's "help during these times and circumstances in which we find ourselves."
The frail, 88-year-old priest said, "We must remain people of God. The conflicts from people to people, from nation to nation, must be solved in a civilized manner."
"God's Earth," he said, "is big enough to sustain us all."
Patriarch Pavle, who earlier served as bishop of Kosovo, discussed the plight of Serbs in the province now dominated by ethnic Albanians, the former victims of Serbian repression.
"It is most important to have sufficient security for refugees to return to Kosovo," he said.
Yugoslav Ambassador Milan Protic said Patriarch Pavle's visit was the first by a leader of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
"It is a very important moment," he said. "It is another sign of fundamental change that has happened back home."
Mr. Protic noted the "importance of our Orthodox religion and the role it has played in our history."
"After 60 years of communism, it is important to reflect on our religious faith," he said.
Mr. Protic, who presented his diplomatic credentials in March, praised the reception he received in Washington.
"The way I've been treated by all American institutions the State Department, the National Security Council, the White House has been just great," he said.
Mr. Protic said Yugoslavs felt "betrayed" by the NATO bombing campaign but harbored no resentment toward Americans.
"We felt betrayed by the West and the U.S. because when the negotiations with Milosevic failed, we were made victims," he said.

Soon to be Slovenian
Slovenian Ambassador Davorin Kracun looked over the Yugoslav Embassy at the reception for Patriarch Pavle and noted some changes he wanted to make.
After all, his government will soon take over the embassy at 2410 California Ave. NW as part of the negotiations that divided Yugoslav property after the breakup of the country.
His first change will be to air condition the building, where guests sweated over their cocktails during the reception on Tuesday for the patriarch.
Under the agreement, Slovenia gets the Yugoslav Embassy here, Bosnia-Herzegovina gets the one in London, Croatia inherits the embassy in Paris and Macedonia gets a consulate building in France.

Texas teasin'
In a state with the unofficial motto "Don't Mess with Texas," it takes a Texan to tease another Texan.
The two Republican senators from the Lone Star State yesterday displayed a little friendly repartee with a Texas lawyer who President Bush, another Texan, nominated to serve as ambassador to Australia.
Sen. Phil Gramm, speaking at a Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing, said Thomas Schieffer is from "one of our great Texas families." He praised Mr. Schieffer's civic contributions and his business success as a lawyer with the oil industry.
"He was elected to the Texas Legislature when he was 25 years old as a Democrat, served six terms and managed to escape with his good name and reputation intact," Mr. Gramm said.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison referred to Mr. Schieffer's time as managing partner of the Texas Rangers baseball team when Mr. Bush was also an owner.
"He did not want it to be a considered a qualification for this office that he was the general manager who traded Sammy Sosa," she said.
Mr. Sosa, whom the Rangers traded in 1989, went on to become a record-breaking home-run hitter nine years later with the Chicago Cubs.

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