- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2001

'Heinous attacks'

The ambassador of Bangladesh yesterday denounced the "heinous" terrorist attacks on the United States and urged Bangladeshis here to express their sympathy "to the American people."

"No sane human being could even conceive of the barbaric terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which killed thousands of innocent people from countries all over the world, including Bangladesh," Ambassador Ahmad Tariq Karim said.

Addressing Bangladeshi residents of Washington at the Bangladesh Embassy, Mr. Karim emphasized that his Muslim South Asian nation is "secular, peace-loving and respectful of basic human and democratic values."

"The people of Bangladesh are against religious extremism and opposed to terrorism in all its forms," he added.

The Bangladeshi government and all political parties in the country denounced the Sept. 11 attacks and Bangladeshi diplomats donated blood to help in the recovery efforts, he said.

Appeal to the Baltics

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has appealed to the three Baltic states to join the global fight against terrorism and cooperate with Russia.

"I urge you to develop a program of action, including steps you can take individually and in concert to contribute to the worldwide fight against the terrible scourge of terrorism," Mr. Powell said in his letter released this week by the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry.

He also expressed U.S. support for Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in their goals of joining NATO.

"We remain steadfast in our commitment to help you prepare yourselves for full integration in the trans-Atlantic community," he said.

Mr. Powell urged the Baltic states, which were dominated by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, to cooperate with Russia, which is seen as a key component of any U.S. response in Central Asia.

"We look forward in particular to your thoughts on ways the Baltic states can build cooperation with Russia," he said.

The three Baltic presidents last week issued a strong condemnation of the terrorist attacks against the United States.

"We are unanimous that these acts were a declaration of war against all states sharing the principles of democracy, freedom of expression and human rights," said Estonian President Lennart Meri, speaking on behalf of Latvia's Vaira Vike-Freiberga and Lithuania's Vladas Adamkus.

"We stand in complete solidarity with the democratic world in our determination to fight terrorism."

Mr. Meri said the Baltic nations can help in their region by "preventing the illegal weapons trade and drug trafficking," which fuel international terrorism.

No threat in Paris

The U.S. ambassador to France yesterday said the embassy in Paris was not a target of suspected terrorists arrested last week in France.

"The indication that we have from the French police is that there is no evidence that this embassy or any other U.S. property in France was specifically targeted," Ambassador Howard Leach told the Agence France-Presse news service.

"Clearly the evidence is that they were terrorists and intent on doing some harm, but not necessarily to this facility."

Seven suspects believed linked to Osama bin Laden were arrested in a Europe-wide crackdown on Islamic militants. Press reports said they were planning attacks on the U.S. Embassy and a consulate in Marseilles.

Endorsing Romania

"Personally, I'd love to see Romania as a member of NATO," the U.S. ambassador to Romania said yesterday, giving a public relations boost to the country's efforts to join the alliance next year.

Ambassador Michael Guest, in a news conference, also thanked Romania for its offer to allow NATO to use its air space in a possible military response to the terrorist attacks on America.

Mr. Guest praised Romania for upgrading its military forces to meet NATO standards but noted he could not guarantee that Romania will complete all of the reforms needed to qualify for NATO membership at its summit meeting next year in the Czech capital, Prague.

"Romania is working very hard to reform its army," Mr. Guest said.

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