Monday, November 12, 2001

‘Struggle for freedom’
The new Czech ambassador fought for freedom under communist domination and now sees the war against terrorism as a continuation of the conflict.
“It is a life or death struggle with those who do not hesitate to kill thousands of innocent people to achieve their political and/or religious goals,” Ambassador Martin Palous wrote in the latest edition of the Czech Embassy newsletter.
“It is a struggle for freedom and democracy, for moderation and tolerance, for openness and dialogue, for respect and compassion for the other societies in our complex, multicultural, post-modern world.”
Mr. Palous reiterated the Czech Republic’s support for the United States, echoing President Vaclav Havel and Prime Minister Milos Zeman.
The Czech Republic is “standing side by side” with its new NATO allies, he wrote.
“Above all, the Czech Republic is ready to stand by the side of the country that has become the direct target of these terrorist attacks, the United States,” he wrote.
Mr. Palous, who presented his diplomatic credentials to President Bush on Oct. 10, was a member of Charter 77, a dissident Czech group that fought for human rights when his country was under Soviet domination.
He served as a member of the Czech parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee in 1990 and was deputy minister of foreign affairs from 1990 to 1992.

Understanding Lebanon
The U.S. ambassador to Lebanon understands why the Lebanese government rejected a U.S. demand to freeze the assets of a guerrilla organization that Washington labeled a terrorist group.
However, the United States will continue to press its case against the militant Hezbollah outfit and hope to persuade Lebanon to stop considering them “freedom fighters” against Israel.
After a meeting Friday with Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, Vincent Battle told reporters in Beirut: “We understand very clearly the basis of the decision. We will continue discussing this decision with the government of Lebanon at several different levels and look forward to cooperation.”
Mr. Hariri on Saturday insisted that his government supports the U.S. war on terrorism.
“We have greatly suffered from terrorism,” he said after a meeting in Paris with French President Jacques Chirac. “We consider ourselves in the same camp as the Americans and with the whole world against terrorism.”

Diplomatic traffic
Foreign visitors to Washington this week include:
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will meet President Bush tomorrow. The two will travel to Mr. Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, later this week for more talks.
Jean Baptiste Compaore, finance minister of Burkina Faso; Gerald Ssendaula, minister of finance, planning and economic development of Uganda; and Gaston Edouard Ravelojaona, governor of the Central Bank of Madagascar. They will hold a 4 p.m. news conference at the International Monetary Fund to discuss the African economy.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Rabbi Michael Melchior, who will address the United Jewish Communities’ General Assembly.
John Moog, director general for internal markets and financial services of the European Commission.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, information minister of the Palestinian Authority, and Yossi Beilin, former Israeli justice minister. They will discuss their roles in the Oslo peace accords at the Brookings Institution.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela, who will deliver the annual Anwar Sadat Lecture for Peace at the University of Maryland.
Mongolian Prime Minister Nambar Enkhbayar, who will address the United States Institute of Peace. He will hold a 12:30 p.m. news conference on Thursday at the National Press Club to discuss democratic reforms in his country.
W. Peter Cullen of the Royal Bank of Canada, who will discuss corporate and information security at a meeting of the Canadian-American Business Council.
Drago Stambuk, former Croatian ambassador to Britain, Egypt and India, and Ognjen Caldarovic of the University of Zagreb. They will participate in a panel discussion on Croatia at Georgetown University.

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