- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 30, 2001

Serbia dissatisfied

With a new war raging in Afghanistan, the conflict in the Balkans in the 1990s seems almost a distant memory for most in the United States. But not in Yugoslavia, where those indicted for war crimes are still walking around free and undisturbed.

Carla del Ponte, the chief prosecutor at The Hague's war-crimes tribunal, rebuked the authorities in Belgrade last week for blocking the U.N. court's work by not cooperating sufficiently with its investigators. But a Serbian official visiting Washington said the U.N. tribunal has more work to do before receiving further local help.

"They need to find a legal framework for our future cooperation and not treat us like a banana republic," Zarko Korac, Serbia's deputy prime minister, told our correspondent Nicholas Kralev over breakfast late last week.

Mr. Korac made clear his government is in favor of the tribunal, having extradited former strongman Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague in June. It is Vojislav Kostunica, the federal president of Yugoslavia, which consists of Serbia and Montenegro, who has been reluctant to openly support the high court because of domestic sensitivities, he said.

In meetings with U.S. officials during his three-day visit last week, Mr. Korac said he raised some economic questions, which appear to be much more pertinent to his country than war crimes.

Although sanctions imposed by Washington were lifted after Mr. Milosevic's fall last year, "frozen assets in U.S. banks were never released," Mr. Korac said.

Scare on Embassy Row

The anthrax scare has hit several embassies in Washington, as well as the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait for the second time this month.

Staff at the Norwegian Embassy are being tested for anthrax exposure after one employee developed flulike symptoms.

"One of the embassy's employees was tested before the weekend because of symptoms similar to those of influenza," the Norwegian Foreign Ministry said in a statement released yesterday in Oslo.

The Cypriot Embassy called the Secret Service to report a suspicious letter last week, Ambassador Erato Kozakou Marcoullis said yesterday.

The handwritten envelope was opened by an embassy staffer who has been wearing gloves and a mask since the anthrax scare began, she said.

The envelop contained no suspicious powder, only a letter blaming the FBI for the anthrax that has been mailed to U.S. leaders and media stars, the ambassador said.

Mrs. Kozakou Marcoullis said she was told that "five or six other embassies" received a copy of the same letter last week.

Meanwhile, Kuwaiti postal authorities intercepted six suspicious letters, including one addressed to the U.S. ambassador, Richard Jones.

Hamed Khajah, a government spokesman, said the letter to the ambassador had no return address but was posted locally, Agence France-Presse reported.

The other five, which included a return address in Bangladesh, were mailed locally to different addresses in the United States. Mr. Khajah did not say what made the letters suspicious.

The embassy last week tested another letter for anthrax, but it turned out to be harmless.

A similar incident occurred in Fiji, where the U.S. Embassy discovered a letter containing white powder. That, too, tested negatively for anthrax.

Victim of terrorism

The new U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan and his wife know what they are talking about when they discuss terrorism.

Franklin and Chanya Huddle were among 48 survivors of a hijacked Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed in the sea near the Comoros Islands in 1996, killing 127 passengers and crew members.

"My wife and I know about terrorism firsthand," he told reporters after presenting his diplomatic credentials to Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov last week.

Mr. Huddle was consul general at the U.S. Consulate in Bombay at the time of the hijacking.

Mr. Huddle told reporters that he discussed "ways that we can build even stronger and mutually beneficial relations."

The United States is considering enlisting Tajikistan in its war in neighboring Afghanistan. The two countries share a 750-mile northern border.

Tajikistan has pledged its full cooperation with the United States.

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