- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 25, 2002

No U.S. role in coup

The White House and State Department have loudly denied any U.S. involvement in the April 12 coup in Venezuela, despite accusations from Venezuelan diplomats and legislators.

Now, the man briefly installed as president is backing the U.S. version of the confused events of the short-lived coup that overthrew leftist President Hugo Chavez, whose supporters restored him to power within 48 hours.

"There was never any intervention by foreign governments," Pedro Carmona told Venezuela's Globovision television in a telephone interview this week.

Mr. Carmona is under house arrest.

In the interview, he denied that Charles Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Venezuela, expressed support for the coup in a meeting on April 13. Mr. Shapiro last week said he urged Mr. Carmona to abandon plans to dissolve the National Assembly, one of the measures that lead to the reversal of the coup.

The State Department this week also dismissed statements by the charge d'affaires of the Venezuelan Embassy, who accused a State Department official of endorsing the coup.

Envoy to Macedonia

Lawrence Butler is introducing himself as the U.S. ambassador to Macedonia, not to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYRM) the formal title of the country foisted on it to satisfy Greek sensitivities.

Mr. Butler this week presented his diplomatic credentials to President Boris Trajkovski, who expressed his gratitude to the United States for its "strong support and commitment to the stabilization, reconstruction and revitalization of the Republic of Macedonia," the government said in a statement.

The Macedonia Information Agency noted that Mr. Butler is "promoting himself as the U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia."

Greece, which considers Macedonia a Hellenic name, insisted that the nation be known as the FYRM, when Macedonia declared its independence after the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Germany's global view

German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping yesterday said the United States has realized it cannot act alone in the war against terrorism and urged Europe to spend more on its armed forces.

"The U.S.A. must realize that the days when it was invulnerable are gone for good," Mr. Scharping told the American Enterprise Institute.

"The U.S.A. has also had to realize that no matter how strong it is militarily, it can only achieve lasting success in dealing with the complex threats and conflicts in the globalized world together with allies and partners."

Mr. Scharping said any nation that wants to combat global terrorism needs "a whole lot of partners."

"Anyone who wants to resolve complex regional conflicts like the one in the Middle East can only achieve his aims by involving all parties concerned," he said.

The European NATO allies, often criticized for spending too little on defense, must modernize their military, he said.

Borer goes home

The Swiss ambassador to Germany, once a dashing diplomat on the Washington scene, and his American beauty-queen wife left Berlin yesterday in disgrace.

Ambassador Thomas Borer returned to Switzerland after hosting a reception for 300 guests from the German political, cultural and economic circles.

Many guests told reporters they regretted the departure of Mr. Borer and his wife, Shawne Borer-Fielding, who hosted elegant receptions and raised the profile of Switzerland.

The Swiss government, however, decided Mr. Borer raised the profile too far, after German tabloids claimed he was having an affair with a woman described as a nude model. Swiss Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss ordered Mr. Borer to return to Switzerland.

Mr. Borer was well-known in Washington for frequent visits here when he was Swiss envoy for settling claims by Holocaust survivors whose fortunes were looted by Nazis and deposited in Swiss banks.

He married Mrs. Borer-Fielding, a former Miss Texas, in 1999, just before taking up his post in Berlin.

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