- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 3, 2002

Warning on Israel
The United States yesterday warned Americas to stay away from Israel and authorized the evacuation of dependents of U.S. diplomats because of the escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
"The situation in Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank remains extremely volatile with continuing terrorist attacks, confrontations and clashes," the State Department said in a travel warning.
The department approved the "voluntary departure" at U.S. expense of dependents of diplomats at the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem. The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv was not affected by the decision.
The travel warning also urged Americans in Israel and the occupied territories to avoid areas that are targetted by Palestinian suicide bombers.
"American citizens in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza should avoid locations such as restaurants and cafes, shopping areas and malls, pedestrian zones, public buses and bus stops or other crowded venues and the areas around them," the department said.
"The potential for further terrorist acts remains high."
Americans needing more information about the conditions in Israel can contact www.usembassy-israel.org.il.

Arab-American meeting
Arab-American groups today will meet Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to express their feelings on the Israeli-Palestinian violence and U.S. plans for Iraq.
The Council of Arab American Organizations, representing 15 groups, will hold a news conference after the meeting at 3:20 p.m. outside the C Street entrance of the State Department.
Remembering Bataan
The U.S. ambassador to the Philippines yesterday joined 14 American survivors of the Bataan Death March to mark the 60th anniversary of the 65-mile-long forced march at the hands of Japanese soldiers in World War II.
On April 9, 1942, 70,000 U.S. and Philippine soldiers surrendered after the invasion of the Philippines. Nearly 20,000 were killed or died from the lack of food and water.
Ambassador Francis Ricciardone noted that today U.S. soldiers are again in the Philippines training the military in counterterrorism measures.
"Once again [we] stand shoulder to shoulder in that same cause," he said.
"This time the enemy is not a racist, militarist aggressor empire but international terrorism born of hate, ignorance, fanaticism, corruption and poverty."

Chicken war truce
The U.S. ambassdor to Russia, Alexander Vershbow, this week hailed the end of a brief, but costly, trade dispute over U.S. poultry imports to Russia.
Mr. Vershbow signed an agreement on Monday that will allow chicken and other poultry products to return to Russia beginning April 10.
The agreement requires U.S. exporters to comply with new rules on inspection and certification, which include veterinary forms that cannot be forged. The forms must guarantee poultry products are free of salmonella poisoning.
Russian Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev accused 14 U.S. producers of sending tainted poultry to Russia. Russia imposed the ban March 10.
The poultry ban followed the U.S. decision to slap tariffs on foreign steel, much of it from Russia.
Mr. Vershbow said the chicken war had hurt U.S.-Russian relations. U.S. producers ship 40 percent of all poultry exports to Russia, accounting for up to $800 million in trade per year.

Lithuanian corruption
The United States is helping Lithuania fight corruption through a new aid package signed last week by U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania John Tefft.
"I have to commend the Lithuanian government for its serious attitude toward corruption and am convinced that this agreement will strengthen the efforts," he said in a signing ceremony in Vilnius, the Lituanian capital.
The agreement provides for $500,000 in U.S. equipment and training for Lithuania's special investigation service, which targets corruption.
The European Union has warned Lithuania that it must control corruption if it wants to meet its goal of joining the EU by 2004.


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