- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 17, 2001

Insulting Colombia
The Colombian ambassador has called for Colombians in New York to protest outside the studio of talk show host David Letterman today to show their anger over his joke about the South American countrys top beauty queen.
Ambassador Luis Alberto Moreno yesterday said Mr. Letterman had "hurt" all Colombians when he said that Andrea Noceti swallowed 50 balloons full of heroin as part of the talent competition in the Miss Universe pageant last week.
Mr. Letterman apologized for his remark during Friday nights opening monologue and explained that he was just joking. He invited Miss Noceti to appear on tonights show.
Mr. Moreno, however, said Colombias drug-infested civil war with Marxist rebels controlling the cocaine and heroin trade is nothing to joke about.
"Without a doubt, the most important aspect of this is that Colombians living in New York, living in the United States, and of course those living in Colombia have been hurt," Mr. Moreno told Colombias RCN television news.
"But there is nothing better than for us, the Colombians that live here that feel hurt, to present a united voice."
Miss Noceti plans to appear on the show.

Lecturing Bangladesh

The prime minister of Bangladesh this week complained that the U.S. ambassador is lecturing her about democratic principles as her government prepares for October elections.
Sheik Hasina Wajed, responding to comments from U.S. Ambassador Mary Ann Peters, told reporters yesterday, "I have been thinking deeply why such sermons did not come when military regimes organized elections but at a time when we are working to strengthen democracy after a long struggle shedding blood."
The ambassador told business leaders that the next elections will be "critically challenging" for the country.
She said the United States will provide $1.5 million to help make the elections "free, fair and credible."
She also said the government election in October will have to act immediately to correct problems at the countrys main seaport, prepare its garment industry to compete in a free global market and reform its power and telecommunications sectors.
The ambassador praised the governments economic performance.

Good news for Tibet

President Bush is expected to name Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky as his special coordinator for Tibet, a move that Tibet supporters hailed as "fantastic."
The Reuters News Agency quoted unidentified congressional sources, who said the appointment will send a strong message to China, which has brutally occupied Tibet since invading the Himalayan nation in 1950.
Miss Dobriansky, considered one of the more conservative political appointments at the State Department, would be the highest-ranking official to hold the position.
Evan Field, a spokesman for the International Campaign for Tibet, said she would be a "fantastic" choice for the position.
The report of her expected appointment comes as Washington is preparing for next weeks visit by the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists.
China last week warned the administration not to meet the Dalai Lama, but Mr. Bush and other top officials are expected to hold talks with him.
"The U.S. side should not arrange any formal or informal meeting with the Dalai Lama by American leaders and government personnel," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi told the Times of India last week.
The Dalai Lama is expected in Washington on May 22. He is scheduled to deliver the commencement address at the School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University on May 24.

Bush picks three

President Bush yesterday announced a diplomatic shuffle as he nominated ambassadors for Syria, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Tapping career foreign service officers, he selected Theodore Kattour, now ambassador to the U.A.E., as his envoy to Syria.
Mr. Bush picked Marcelle Wahba, public affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy in Egypt, to replace Mr. Kattour, and Maureen Quinn, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Morocco, to be ambassador to Qatar.


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