- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 6, 2001

Vershbow to Chechnya
The U.S. ambassador to Russia will visit the battle-scarred Chechnya region to show Washington's deep concern about the conflict in the breakaway republic.
Ambassador Alexander Vershbow plans to travel to the area within "the next month to month and a half," depending on when he gets permission from Russian authorities, a senior U.S. official said yesterday.
"Chechnya remains a real mess, and there are no signs the Russians are looking for a political way out, which is unfortunate because there is no likelihood they will succeed with their military strategy," said the official, who spoke to State Department reporters on the condition he not be identified.
"We are genuinely concerned about the path the Russians are on."
He also said Russia has made no progress on prosecuting soldiers accused of atrocities against Chechen civilians.
"I can't say we're seeing genuine efforts to hold accountable those soldiers and officers involved in atrocities and excesses," the official said.
In Chechnya yesterday, Russian troops backed by helicopter gunships reported killing dozens of rebels, while Chechens claimed to have killed 30 Russian soldiers.

Peace and prosperity
After more than 700 deaths, another suicide bombing and nearly a year of Palestinian unrest, the U.S. ambassador to Israel felt the need to state the obvious.
Peace is good for prosperity. Violence is not.
With Israeli civilians under daily assault from Palestinian terrorists and Palestinians facing Israeli reprisals, "people are not thinking about peace," Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer said yesterday.
He noted that Israel's gross domestic product had doubled to $110 billion a year over the past decade, according to reports from Israel.
"A major contributor to Israel's economic expansion has been the expansion of peace," he told business executives in Tel Aviv.
"Today people are not thinking about peace, their priority being to re-establish a sense of personal and national security.
"But even as we do that — bolstered by the strong and unshakeable bonds of friendship between the United States and Israel — let us also bear in mind the overarching need to bring peace to Israel and the peoples of this region."
Mr. Kurtzer defended a U.S. travel advisory against complaints that it has hurt Israel's tourism industry, saying the warning is meant to protect Americans in Israel.
"We conduct a dialogue with a large number of agencies here in Israel to make sure the assessment we provide to Washington is fair and honest," he said.
Mr. Kurtzer criticized Israel over its level of protection for intellectual property rights and said a bill designed to prevent money-laundering is too weak.
"Israelis themselves should not want the extraordinary successes this country has achieved in recent years to remain clouded by images of pirated software, inadequate data protection for pharmaceutical products, or a reputation as a money-laundering center," he said.

To the Senate
The White House has sent the following ambassadorial nominations to the Senate for confirmation hearings:
George L. Argyros for Spain and Andorra; J. Richard Blankenship for the Bahamas; Brian E. Carlson for Latvia; John J. Danilovich for Costa Rica; Joseph M. DeThomas for Estonia; Hans H. Hertell for the Dominican Republic; Michael E. Malinowski for Nepal; Jackson McDonald for Gambia; Bonnie McElveen-Hunter for Finland; John D. Negroponte for the United Nations; Ronald E. Neumann for Bahrain; John Malcolm Ordway for Armenia; John N. Palmer for Portugal; Arlene Render for the Ivory Coast; Mattie R. Sharpless for the Central African Republic; Marcelle M. Wahba for the United Arab Emirates; R. Barrie Walkley for Guinea.
The White House also sent the Senate the nominations of Kent R. Hill to serve as assistant administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development; Patrick Francis Kennedy to be ambassador to the United Nations for management and reform; Otto J. Reich to be assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs; and John F. Turner to serve as assistant secretary of state for oceans, environmental and scientific issues.

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