- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Terrorism in India

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell yesterday warned militants in Pakistan who claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack in India that they will become a target in the U.S. war against terrorism.

Mr. Powell, at a news conference with Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, said the United States intends to carry its campaign beyond tracking down Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist organization, accused of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"This clearly was an act of terror," Mr. Powell said, referring to a suicide car-bombing and the assault by gunmen on the legislature in the Indian state of Kashmir on Monday. The terrorists killed at least 31 persons and wounded 75 in the worst violence in the disputed region in two years.

Mr. Powell declined to answer a reporter who asked if the United States will "close down all the terrorist centers" in Pakistan.

However, he added, "We are going after terrorism in a comprehensive way, not just in the present instance with al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, but terrorism as it affects nations around the world to include the kind of terrorism that affects India."

Mr. Singh on Monday met President Bush and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to discuss the violence in Kashmir.

After that meeting, he told reporters that the attacks in Kashmir are the "same manifestation of terrorism acting under different groups."

Mr. Singh added that if Afghanistan's Taliban government continues to shelter bin Laden and other terrorists, then the "Taliban has to go."

Envoy defended

The Romanian Foreign Ministry yesterday defended U.S. Ambassador Michael Guest against criticism of his homosexuality.

"Intolerance and questioning someone's private life are against the values of democracy, human rights and individual freedom," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Romanian government was reacting to a campaign being mounted against Mr. Guest by Romanian Cradle, described as an "ultra-nationalist group" in an Agence France-Presse dispatch yesterday.

Romanian Cradle has written to President Bush, expressing its "disgust" that Mr. Bush appointed a homosexual ambassador. Mr. Guest arrived in the capital, Bucharest, late last month with his longtime partner, Alex Nevarez.

Sorin Ducaru, the Romanian ambassador to the United States, told Embassy Row yesterday that the Romanian government was aware of Mr. Guest's homosexuality before he arrived in the country. Romania also provided a visa for Mr. Nevarez.

"This was no surprise to the Romanian government. This is a non-issue. He is a highly respected diplomat, and we knew he would come with his partner," Mr. Ducaru said.

Mr. Guest, a 20-year career diplomat, most recently served as acting assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs. Romania is his first ambassador position.

Romania approved the appointment of Mr. Guest "within 24 hours" after receiving a request to accept his appointment from the State Department, Mr. Ducaru said.

"Knowing Ambassador Guest, I very much appreciate his character and his great professionalism," Mr. Ducaru added.

Mr. Guest is the second openly homosexual ambassador appointed by the United States. However, unlike the contested appointment of homosexual activist James Hormel by President Clinton, Mr. Guest made no issue of his sexuality. He also made no attempt to hide it.

Mr. Guest is a member of the State Department's homosexual organization, Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies, the Washington Blade reported last month. The Blade, a newspaper that reports on homosexual issues, also noted that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell recognized Mr. Guest's partner at the ambassador's swearing-in ceremony.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, now chaired by Democrats, also avoided the issue during Mr. Guest's confirmation hearing. Former Chairman Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican, opposed Mr. Hormel's nomination, but Mr. Clinton appointed him ambassador to Luxembourg during a congressional recess in 1999.

Romania in July repealed communist-era laws against homosexuality. Retaining the laws would have blocked the country's efforts to join the European Union.

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