- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 4, 2001

Yemen not a target

Yemen, the scene of last year's terrorist attack that killed 17 American sailors, is not a target in the current campaign against terrorism, the U.S. ambassador to Yemen said yesterday.

Ambassador Edmund Hull tried to calm nervous Yemenis, whose country hosts groups that the United States identifies as terrorist organizations, when he met with a group of American citizens of Yemeni origin at the U.S. Embassy.

Asked whether Yemen is a target, Mr. Hull said, "Absolutely not. In the war against terrorism, Yemen is a partner, not a target."

Mr. Hull, who presented his diplomatic credentials on Monday, also thanked the Yemeni government for "doing its utmost to protect all Americans in Yemen."

Agence France-Presse noted that Yemen has begun a "crackdown" on those the government calls "Arab Afghans" suspected of contact with Osama bin Laden, the accused mastermind of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist group had illegal operations in Yemen, according to the State Department's latest annual report on terrorism.

On Oct. 12, 2000, terrorists using Yemen as a base carried out a suicide attack on the destroyer USS Cole that killed 17 sailors in the port of Aden.

"The Yemeni government strongly condemned the attack and actively engaged in investigative efforts to find the perpetrators," the State Department said in its terrorism report.

The report added that "several terrorist organizations maintain a presence in Yemen."

"Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad continue to be recognized as legal organizations but did not engage in terrorist activities there," the report said.

"Other international terrorist groups that have an illegal presence in Yemen included the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, Libyan opposition groups, the Algerian Armed Islamic Group and al Qaeda."

Irish express sympathy

The U.S. Embassy in Ireland closed its condolence book after 50,000 Irish citizens expressed their grief over the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"This was an overwhelming response," said Pat Kelly, the spokesman for the Irish Embassy in Washington, who informed Embassy Row about the outpouring of sympathy in Dublin.

About 19,000 Irish citizens responded to an Internet condolence site in addition to the book at the U.S. Embassy, Mr. Kelly said.

"So many people are so appalled at the attack on innocent people. It struck an accord everywhere," he said.

The tragedy was especially hard felt in Ireland, where many Irish citizens have friends or relatives in New York, one of the largest centers of Irish-American residents.

Also at least 20 Irish nationals were killed in the attack on the World Trade Center. The fatalities included an Irish woman who was on one of the planes that struck the twin towers where her brother worked. Her brother survived.

Four points for Sudan

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is urging the U.S. special envoy to Sudan to demand respect for human rights from a nation accused of practicing slavery and harboring terrorists.

"During this period of war against terrorism, we again urge the Bush administration to press all sides of the conflict in Sudan to respect human rights and religious freedom and to make a just and lasting peace in Sudan a top administration priority," commission Chairman Michael K. Young wrote to envoy John Danforth, a former republican senator from Missouri.

Mr. Young said the Muslim Sudanese government should reach a comprehensive cease-fire with the Christian and animist opposition, lift bans on food-relief flights, accept internationally monitored peace talks and guarantee religious freedom.

U.N. envoy to S. Africa

President Bush has selected a career diplomat now at the United Nations to serve as ambassador to South Africa.

Cameron R. Hume has been a senior adviser to the U.S. mission to the United Nations since September 2000. Before that, he served as ambassador to Algeria.

Mr. Hume also served as a special envoy to peace talks to end the civil war in Mozambique in the early 1990s.

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