- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Musharraf must stay

Your April 29 editorial accurately portrays "The Musharraf referendum" as a critical test for both the future of Pakistan and its relations with the United States. The extension of Gen. Pervez Musharraf's presidency is essential towards guaranteeing anti-corruption, anti-terrorist, pro-democracy, and pro-development reforms in Pakistan and its cooperation in our war on terror.

Ushering in a new, stable and accountable democracy in Pakistan the world's second largest Muslim country is critical to safeguarding peace and prosperity for Pakistanis, Americans and much of the rest of the world. Gen. Musharraf has performed well in this regard, as is evident from his local government program, which has enjoyed two successful rounds of elections and is an integral part of Gen. Musharraf's vision for a "grassroots democracy" in the country.

At a time in which events around the world are testing the United States' friendships with other governments, we must make sure that a country as strategically important as Pakistan is a friend for decades to come. The implementation of Gen. Musharraf's reform agenda is a critical part of making that a reality. Both the United States and Pakistan need his cool-headed and responsible decision-making abilities.

Finally, Washington must play its role by providing sustained economic and military aid to Islamabad.


Greenvale, N.Y.

Pope avoids calling abuse 'pedophilia'

Your April 24 story "Pope calls sex abuse 'appalling sin'," is very informative. However, you report that the pope said "that there is no place for pedophiles in religious life," which is not correct. The pope did not use the word "pedophilia" in his address, and I seriously doubt that he would refer to the problem as pedophilia.

As you know, pedophilia means sex with prepubescent children of either sex, whereas the victims of the errant priests have mainly been teen-age boys. This behavior is homosexual abuse, not pedophilia. The distinction is important.


West Palm Beach, Fla.

Read our lips more funds for IDAs'

The premise of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) that the government will match, dollar for dollar, deposits made by low-income workers in special accounts sounds like one of those ideas that is too good to be true ("2 single moms laud help in faith-based Senate bill," April 19). Yet it is true, and it is being implemented in 250 programs nationwide.

The $1.7 billion proposed by President Bush to fund IDAs isn't much in Washington dollars. That amount easily could be doubled or even tripled. If asked, though, the president probably would reply with a line often used by his father in his last campaign, "We've got the will, but not the wallet." How can we get the wallet? Simple: Congress can rescind all or at least part of last year's tax cut. It was dumb then, and it's dumb now.

We need to keep after the decision-makers on the Senate Finance Committee with a paraphrase of another of the senior George Bush's favorite lines: "Read our lips more funds for IDAS." If members of Congress use war expenses as an excuse to cut or eliminate funding for IDAs, we might remind them that the spouses of our soldiers fighting thousands of miles away might well be candidates for IDAs. Don't they deserve a chance?


Buffalo, N.Y.

No EU membership for Cyprus until Greek and Turkish Cypriots settle

Though I found Commentary Deputy Editor Benjamin Tyree's April 26 column, "Possibilities for the future of Cyprus," relatively balanced, I feel the need for some corrections and additions for the sake of historical fairness.

To understand the Cyprus problem, it is necessary to recall a little of the island's recent history. When British rule ended in 1960, the new constitution vested sovereignty jointly in the two communities. It provided for a Greek-Cypriot president and a Turkish-Cypriot vice president, both with veto powers. Cyprus was forbidden to unite with any other state, and the 1960 accords were guaranteed by Greece, Turkey and England. Many Greek Cypriots regarded the settlement as biased against them, and in 1963, they drove the Turks out of their positions in government. The following 11 years constituted "anni horribilis" for the Turkish Cypriots, who were forced to fight just to survive.

In 1974, supporters of ENOSIS (union with Greece) staged a military coup. As the situation for the Turkish Cypriots took on a more dangerous dimension, they called on the guarantor powers to intervene. When Britain did nothing, Turkey, under her guarantee obligations, decided to intervene. This intervention has lead to the collapse of the military regimes in both Cyprus and Greece, which was then ruled by a military dictatorship.

The international community unfairly and illegally decided to recognize the Greek-Cypriot administration as the government of the whole island, referencing the 1960 accords. Yet those accords forbid Cyprus "to participate, in whole or in part, in any political or economic union with any state whatsoever." In other words, membership in the European Union is prohibited by the very constitution Greek-Cypriot officials cite as the source of their government's claim to the whole island.

This is no narrow legal point. By accepting their unilateral application, the European Union has taken away from Greek Cypriots any incentive to agree to a settlement with the north. At the beginning of the 1990s, the outlines of a deal began to emerge: Turkish Cypriots would relinquish some territory in return for recognition as equal partners in a bizonal federation. Once the Greek Cypriots realized they could deal with the European Union on their own, however, they lost interest in the talks. Membership is viewed by the Greeks as an opportunity to reverse the balance of power in the Levant by engineering a situation in which Turkey is occupying EU territory; Turks see Greek-Cypriot membership as ENOSIS by another name. The EU Council in Brussels has been bullied into accepting this problem by Greece's threat to veto the planned enlargement of the European Union. Turkey, which withdrew its threat to veto NATO expansion, is being punished for its responsibility, while Greece is rewarded for its intransigence.

Both Britain and the United States have a special duty toward Cyprus as NATO powers that have access to military bases in Cyprus. They must insist that an internal settlement be in place before the application for EU membership is accepted. This is not just a question of dealing fairly with the two communities, acknowledging that Turkey has been treated shabbily by Brussels, or even sticking to the law. It is a question of preserving peace in the Eastern Mediterranean.


Kienberg, Austria

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